Peel the cucumber (easiest with a swivel-bladed peeler), throw away the watery core and grate coarsely. Place in a colander or sieve and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt, mixing thoroughly. Set over a bowl, place a saucer on top and a weight on top of that and leave for about 30 minutes (if you are short of time, press hard on the weight – after about 30 seconds quite a lot of salted water will come out). Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic and mash to a paste with a large pinch of salt using the flat of a knife. Mix into the yogurt or yogurt and crème fraiche and add the mint. Rinse the salt off the cucumber under the cold tap and use the bowl again to press away the water. Pat dry with a cloth or kitchen paper. Mix into the yogurt and check it’s not too salty. If so, add more yogurt.
You could substitute dill or coriander for the mint if eating the tzatziki on its own. This is best made at least an hour before use.
© 2001 Stephen Bull. All rights reserved.