Dips and Pita

Dips and Pita

From: Chef Marty Cattaneo, Dio Deka, Fine Hellenic Cuisine, Los Gatos, CA. Yield: varies.

Tzatziki:
2 qt. drained Greek yogurt
1 bunch chopped dill
3 Tbsp. minced garlic
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 cups finely diced cucumber
1 Tbsp. ground black pepper
to taste, salt

Tirosalta Dip:
1 jalapeno, half raw and half grilled (seeds and all)
4 cups fresh feta cheese
1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

Taramosalata:
2⁄3 cup Tarama (salty carp roe caviar found in specialty stores)
½ cup lemon juice
8 slices white bread with crust removed
3 cups canola oil or blended oil
as needed, soda water
to taste, salt

Pita Bread:
1 cup warm water
3 Tbsp. dry yeast
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 qt. bread flour
2 cups warm water (body temperature or warmer)
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup Greek yogurt, drained
as needed, dry Greek oregano

For Tzatziki: Combine all ingredients in a bowl with a rubber spatula.

For Tirosalta Dip: Add jalapeno and cheese into a food processor and blend until smooth and incorporated. Slowly add extra virgin olive oil; incorporate yogurt and vinegar until smooth. Best when chilled slightly. If desired, pair with lamb sweetbreads.

For Taramosalata: Combine Tarama and lemon juice in a food processor. Slowly, so that mixture doesn’t break, add 1 cup canola oil and ¼ cup soda water. Add bread (not too slowly and not too fast; you do not want gluten to begin to bind). Slowly emulsify remaining 2 cups oil and add a little soda water if needed to loosen the mixture. For best results, chill before serving. Serve with pita bread.

For Pita Bread: Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1 cup of warm water. Let sit in a warm place until double in size. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a mixer. Incorporate; add in the yeast-sugar-water mixture until it pulls away from sides of the mixing bowl. Once dough is incorporated, break it down into balls that weigh about 3 or 4 oz. each. Roll and let sit for at least 6 hours.

Roll dough balls out to about 4 to 6 inches in diameter. Brush with olive oil and hit with a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt and dry Greek oregano. Grill. Pita can be used right then or held for later use and warmed in an oven when needed.

Photo: Dio Deka