If you’ve been following my posts, you probably know that second to my native Italian food, Greek food is hands-down my favorite. Really, Mediterranean-style dishes of any kind are at the top of my list! In fact, many of the Italian dishes that I prepare have a Mediterranean/Greek flair to them since I love to use lots of lemon zest, lemon juice and tons of fresh herbs. I guess you could say that I have something in common with Giada DeLaurentiis and her love for lemons!
If you’re wondering where the connection is, here’s a little info on the geography of these two Mediterranean destinations. Greece and Italy are not only close in proximity, but also share similarities in food, culture and design influence. From various southern points of Italy, you can take a ferry to Greece, Croatia and other Mediterranean destinations. Brindisi, which is located in the heel of the boot, is the most southern Italian ferry port for traveling to Greece.
Many Italians spend their summers in Greece and vice versa since it’s just about six hours of travel by ferry between Brindisi and Corfu, the closest port in Greece. Summers are spent enjoying the beautiful beaches, dining on fresh fish and seafood and indulging in cocktails and nightlife.
Our very dear friends, who are really more like family, come from Albania and Kosovo. If you look at the map below of the Balkans, you’ll see that the southern portion of Albania borders Greece and the southern part of Italy is just across the Adriatic Sea from both Albania and Greece, making it very close in proximity to travel to and from by way of boat. Geographically, the regions are very close to one another. Therefore, there are many cultural similarities, as well as many commonalities in the Mediterranean style of food and lifestyle that is enjoyed throughout this beautiful area.
This recipe is based on my sweet friend Kristina’s tzatziki, which she serves with everything from roasted lamb and potatoes to her delicious Albanian flija bread (which she made gluten free for me recently and it was delightful. One of these days, I’ll make it with her and will share it here!). I made it this past weekend while my two sisters-in-law and I were jarring our Italian pickled vegetables (giardinera); we noshed on it all afternoon with gluten free hummus chips, raw veggies and of course, stuffed grape leaves. I added a couple of my own little touches and could not have been happier with the results! This will definitely be my go-to summer dip for entertaining or just to have on hand to enjoy with lunch or dinner. It’s so easy to make and of course, can be made ahead of time and left in the fridge. As long as it’s stored in an airtight glass container, it should stay for at least a week in your refrigerator. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. If you’re not traveling to the Mediterranean this summer, have a staycation with this tasty dip!
- About 1 heaping cup whole milk Greek yogurt, plain
- About 1/2 heaping cup full-fat sour cream
- 1 large garlic clove, smashed through a garlic press (if you like your tzatziki very garlicky, add another clove!)
- Juice of half a lemon
- A couple tablespoons of grated seedless cucumber, skin removed
- Lots of fresh dill (or to taste)
- Step 1 In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, lemon juice, garlic and cucumber. Mix well.
- Step 2 Add lots of chopped fresh dill and mix again.
- Step 3 Scoop into a serving vessel and garnish with additional sprigs of dill.
- Step 4 Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week. When ready to serve, remove from the fridge and stir well.
- Step 5
Here are some of my serving suggestions! Serve with everything from:
- Roasted lamb or chicken; grilled chicken or fish
- Chips, pretzels
- Stuffed grape leaves
- Warm pita bread
- Use instead of plain sour cream to top baked potatoes
- Om top of a burger or as a dip for lamb meatballs
- If keeping to a low carb diet, serve atop thick slices of cucumber
- The possibilities are endless!