This is not tzatziki. We know it looks like tzatziki. And before you ask, "How many cucumber-yogurt sauces does one really need, anyway?" Let us explain the difference...
When I was growing up, my grandmother used to serve sliced tomatoes from her garden topped with a creamy cucumber dressing. It was white, lumpy with fresh cucumbers, and full of mayonnaise, I'm sure. This is my attempt at recreating that dressing (without eating spoonfuls of mayonnaise).
The main differences between this recipe and classic tzatziki is that this contains no dill and no garlic. Those are two huge differences, so really, this is an entirely different animal. This sauce does have yogurt, plus some sour cream for added flavor, so the freshness of the cucumbers really shines through without being hidden behind raw garlic and herbs.
I use this sauce on greek chicken sandwiches (recipe for those coming soon) and, of course, to top big slices of summer tomatoes. But it would be great on a simple turkey sandwich, an ear of fresh corn, or even a burger.
One note on the yogurt in the recipe: I used regular, plain yogurt, because I had it on hand, but greek yogurt will give you a thicker sauce.
Quick, Cool Cucumber Sauce
Makes about one cup
cup of peeled, grated cucumber (about half of a long, English cucumber, 1 medium sized Kirby, or a small regular cucumber)
plain yogurt (Greek-style or regular)
Squeeze of a lemon
Salt and pepper
Place the grated cucumber in a mesh strainer set over a bowl. Sprinkle on the 1/2 teaspoon of salt, stir, and let the cucumber sit for about an hour, stirring and gently pressing once or twice to get out some of the moisture.
Combine the drained cucumber, yogurt, and sour cream in a bowl. Stir to combine. Squeeze a bit of lemon juice in and season with salt and pepper.
(Image: Elizabeth Passarella)