Nothing could be more simple to assemble than this cool and creamy yogurt dressing. Cooks in Greece, Turkey, Iran and the Arab nations find many uses for this versatile dressing. It is served on beet salads, carrot salads, and cucumber salads as well as those with cooked eggplant and zucchini. In Greece and Turkey, it is used to dress a salad of pursiane. In Iran, it is mixed with cooked spinach, beets, mushrooms, eggplant, carrots, and cucumbers. The most common additions to the basic yogurt dressing are chopped fresh mint or dill and minced garlic.
To make this creamy dressing, you need thick yogurt. The imported Fage brand of Greek yogurt does not require any draining, but most commercial yogurts need to be drained of excess water. To get 2 cups of thick yogurt, spoon 4 cups of yogurt into a strainer lined with cheesecloth, set it over a bowl, and let the water drain away for a few hours in the refrigerator.
Yield: Makes about 2 ½ cups
2 cups thick yogurt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 tablespoons minced garlic (optional)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint or dill (optional)
In a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the olive oil and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt. Fold in the garlic or herbs if desired.