Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cucumber Yogurt Salad

I was a very picky eater as a kid, which made meal preparation a rather tricky task for my parents, especially considering that my brother, who was generally pretty accepting of various foods, absolutely refused to eat cheese (which was one of the few foods I would eat of course). However, whenever my mom made this salad, my brother and I would both happily eat it all up and even ask for seconds!

I tried to make it once in Italy, and this led to my discovery of the fact that nobody in Italy seems to know what dill is, nor can it be found in any major supermarkets or open-air markets. I finally managed to track down a jar at a strange foreign foods/health foods store that I came across completely by chance while wandering down a street near the Navigli district. That jar, with it's labeling of 'Aneto' is the one I still have and use, though of course if you have access to fresh dill then you should definitely use that!

Ingredients (makes enough for 1 large dish or for 2 people to split as a side to other dishes):
1 medium cucumber
250 g plain yogurt
Olive oil
Lemon juice
A spring of parsley

Wash the cucumber and peel if necessary (depends on the variety of cucumber). Chop lengthwise and then chop each half into thin slices. Combine cucumber and yogurt in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice and then add a pinch of salt, the mint, and the dill. Mix everything well. Wash the parsley and chop it into little bits. Sprinkle the parsley over the salad and serve immediately or let chill a bit and then serve.

I added some Israeli/Levantine couscous to my salad to round out the meal, but the salad also works well as an accompaniment to heartier dishes, particularly when they are spicy!

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