Israeli Food

Yogurt and Cucumber Salad

Recipe names can be confusing. Cooks acquainted with the Arabic table know tarator as a tahini-thickened nut sauce. Cooks familiar with Greek and Turkish cuisines see this salad as a cousin to tzatziki and cacik, with the addition of chopped walnuts.

Serves 4 to 6.

2 cups plain yogurt

1 large or 2 small cucumbers

Salt for sprinkling, plus 1 teaspoon

5 or 6 cloves garlic, green sprouts removed and finely minced

2 to 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill or mint, or a mixture

Pita bread, cut into quarters if large, halves if small, and warmed

Spoon the yogurt into a sieve placed over a bowl and place in the refrigerator to drain for four hours.

Peel and seed the cucumber(s). If using the large cucumber, grate it; if using the small cucumbers, cut into tiny dice. Place the grated or diced cucumber in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to drain for 30 minutes, then squeeze dry in a kitchen towel. Refrigerate until needed.

In a bowl, stir together the garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and vinegar. Add the nuts and olive oil, and fold in the drained yogurt and cucumber(s). Stir in the herbs. Spoon into a shallow bowl and surround with warmed pita. Serve at once.

Reprinted with permission from
Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean
(Chronicle Books).

Joyce GoldsteinJoyce Goldstein is the author of many cookbooks and also works as a consultant to restaurants and cooking instructor.

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