In October (it feels like a lifetime already) my husband and I spent a week in Rhodes, Greece. It was our first trip to Greece, a place I have always wanted to visit. Now, living in Israel, Rhodes is a mere hour flight away and more accessible than I ever imagined. I must admit that I knew next to nothing about Rhodes before we landed, and I’ll go a little more in depth about the wonderful island in my upcoming post on where to eat in Rhodes. What I will tell you is that I fell head over heels in love with Greek food. The simple, clean flavors haunt my taste buds and the pit of my stomach calls out and grumbles for more. I have nothing short of a full blown tzatziki addiction and I can’t stop putting feta in everything.
Of course I had eaten Greek food before, and it was fine, but nothing revelatory. So I was blown away when we sat down for our first meal in Rhodes to a huge platter of mezze, various dips and spreads similar to what we find in Israel but distinct. The thick, creamy, tangy tzatziki was unlike anything I have ever eaten. Gyros wrapped in pillowy Greek pita put Israeli shawarma to shame (sorry), chicken souvlaki platters made me swoon, eggplant and beef moussaka warmed my belly, and the feta – oh the feta! On salad or deep fried with honey, I just couldn’t get enough.
And my trip there taught me a few things about how to properly prepare it at home. In the past when I made tzatziki I just sliced up some cucumber and threw it in with yogurt. But I have three easy tricks that will make the best tzatziki you’ve ever tasted. As good as in Greece. First, strain your yogurt through coffee filters or cheesecloth, even if it is already thick. Make it thicker. Second, don’t chop your cucumber. Shred it with a box grater. This is how it was served at every restaurant we ate (and we had tzatziki at every single meal), and trust me, it makes a difference. Finally, dill is the secret ingredient. It’s not an overpowering dill flavor, so dill haters never fear, it just adds a little something that pushes it from good to amazing.
And chicken souvlaki-style Greek chicken could not be any easier. It’s a simple marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and herbs. I’ve made this a number of times since we’ve been home (I have some in the fridge marinating as we speak to serve to company tonight) and it’s been delicious each and every time. I’ve marinated it for as little as 30 minutes and as long as overnight and the results are all excellent.
You may have noticed that this week I skipped the shout-out aspect of my usual Friday post in exchange for a recipe of my own. I just really wanted to share this with you today. And one of the most common comments I see is that people can always use more chicken recipes. Which is why the theme of today’s blog hop is chicken. Grilled, roasted, poached, or fried, appetizer or entree, what are your favorite chicken recipes? I do hope you’ll share the links below.
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Greek salad seasoning (or 2 teaspoons each dried oregano, thyme, and mint)
- 2 pounds chicken breast (I like to slice it into tenders but they can be kept whole as well)
- 2 cups plain yogurt
- 1 cucumber, grated on medium side of box grater and strained of extra liquid
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped dill
- 1 teaspoon tzatziki seasoning or garlic powder (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and herbs together in a large bowl.
- Add the chicken and toss to coat. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate, at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Put the chicken on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven (discard extra marinade).
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, flipping halfway, until cooked through (time will be shorter for tenders than for whole chicken breast).
- Remove from the oven and serve with tzatziki.
- Strain yogurt through two coffee filters or cheesecloth for at least 1 hour, or until desired thickness is reached.
- Transfer to a bowl and mix with the cucumber, dill, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Serve immediately or transfer to a closed glass jar and store in the fridge for up to a week (if using fresh yogurt).
I linked this recipe up at the Flu Fighting Foods blog hop! Head on over for more great yogurt recipes.