I know most of us have been looking for warming, filling autumn dishes, but maybe, just like me, from time to time you need something fresh, something bringing back sunny summer memories… What about a new version of tzatziki? I found it while reading my latest buy: Food of the Greek Islands by Aglaia Kremezi and as a relatively recent fennel convert, I was thrilled to add it to my recipes’ list. It’s light, refreshing, crunchy and if you slice the fennel very finely (with a mandolin for example), I bet your fennel-hating guests will love it and some won’t even guess what they are eating. Serve it with grilled skewers, meats and vegetables, as a party dip or as a healthy bread spread. Most of all, hurry up before the fennel season ends!
As usually, I have modified the ingredients’ amounts and their ratio, so check Aglaia Kremezi’s original recipe. If you are interested in Greek food, I strongly advise her fascinating book, written with passion and deep knowledge of the culinary heritage and traditions of Greek islands, but most of all full of luscious-looking recipes.
TIP: If you use chilli pepper, black pepper is not necessary in my opinion.
Preparation: 10 minutes + cooling time
250 g (about 1/2 cup) Greek yogurt or any natural yogurt you have
1 small cucumber or 1/3 long cucumber
1 small fennel
salt, (ground black pepper)
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove
(1 fresh small chilli pepper)
3 heaped tablespoons fresh chopped dill or fennel fronds
Grate the cucumber (you can peel it or not, I prefer it unpeeled) and squash well to remove the juices.
Place in a bowl.
Slice the fennel very finely (the easiest way to obtain it is with a mandolin).
Place the fennel in the same bowl, add the crushed or grated garlic, the salt, the pepper (if using), the finely sliced chilli (if using), the lemon juice, the dill or fennel fronds and mix well. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Sprinkle with olive oil just before serving.