This recipe is by one of my favorite Israeli chefs – Shmil Holland. Tzaziki (aka tarator) is a chilled, savory yogurt soup served throughout the Balkans and very popular in Israel. This version, prepared with frozen grapes and crunchy almonds, is fit for a special occasion. Flavorful thick yogurt is the key to success. Three different kinds are combined here – cow’s milk, goat or sheep and buffalo – but you can substitute other kinds according to personal taste and availability.
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
2 cups cow’s milk yogurt
2 cups goat or sheep milk yogurt
2 cups buffalo milk yogurt
1/3 cup olive oil
Freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste
Grated zest of half a lemon
3 sprigs mint, chopped
3 sprigs dill, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup green grapes without stems, frozen
300 g (10 oz) cucumbers, peeled and diced finely
1/2 cup chives, chopped
3 tablespoons blanched sliced almonds, chopped
Combine 3 kinds of yogurt. Gradually whisk in the olive oil (similar to making mayonnaise) until smooth. The oil must be completely blended into the yogurt or it will float on the surface.
Season with salt and stir in the lemon juice and zest, mint, dill and garlic. Up to this point the soup can be kept refrigerated for as long as 24 hours.
When ready to serve, halve the frozen grapes and put them together with the diced cucumbers into serving bowls, saving some of the grapes for garnish. Pour the yogurt on top and garnish with the remaining grapes, chives and chopped almonds.