• 2 firm, medium cucumbers
  • kosher salt
  • scant half-teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups thick plain Greek yogurt (I like to let it drain in cheesecloth for a few hours, but that’s optional)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon zest or minced preserved lemon peel
  • Scant half teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed or za’atar (optional)
  • Cayenne (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optionalns


1. Peel the cucumbers, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Grate them into a colander over a sink or bowl, sprinkle with salt and let them rest for 30 minutes. Rinse and pat them dry, or for really crisp cucumbers, Mark Bittman (The New York Times’ Minimalist) suggests squeezing them inside a towel, something I never seem to do. In fact, if I’m short on time, I skip this step altogether!

2. While the cucumber drains, place the sea salt and garlic into a mortar and grind with the pestle. Grind in the cumin or za-atar if you’re using them. Add one tablespoon olive oil and work into a smooth paste. Stir in the rest of the olive oil and the vinegar. Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking. If you like a hint of heat, add a sprinkle of cayenne.

3. Toss the cucumbers with the above mixture, fold in the yogurt and the mint, dill and lemon zest. Taste and add lemon juice if you like. Serve with toasted pita triangles, crackers or raw vegetables.

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