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This is one of those delicious, almost-no-work-type of dishes.  It’s flexible and loaded with flavor.  It is the quintessential summer dip.  And I think summer is upon us!

I’ve been making a version of this for years…I sort of rely on what’s in season, what I’m serving with it and what manner I intend to use it.  I never really wrote this down before, but it’s was worth sharing, so I took notes!  This is a dip.  This is a sauce.  This is a schmear, too!

Today, I’m using it as a dip, with lots of fresh veggies.  This is our dinner “salad” tonight.  For breakfast, I may smear it on toast.  This is the blend of fresh herbs I used today.  I usually use the fennel fronds, no matter what the other forward flavor is.  Today that’s cilantro, because I have beautiful cilantro in my garden, so….

I change up the forward herb flavor (but, I always try to use fennel fronds), depending on what I’m serving it with.  The other herbs remain pretty much the same:

  • with salmon—dillweed, lemon and capers.
  • with grilled tuna—lemon balm, orange zest and black olives
  • with chicken—basil, orange or lemon zest, and sun-dried tomatoes
  • with chicken—tarragon, orange or lemon zest, black olives
  • with chicken—oregano, cumin seed, lime zest
  • with lamb—equal parts mint and oregano, orange zest, toasted walnuts
  • and whatever else your taste buds say to you

These are just suggestions and combinations I’ve used in the past…By the way, this is to die for on a baked potato.  Once you have this, you may never go back to plain sour cream.  I don’t know if I’ve ever used this with beef, but some horseradish added would be very tasty.  Or with pork, but cumin, honey and lots of garlic could be wonderful.  See.  Bottom line…let your taste buds speak to you.

I don’t think you need pictures, of how to prepare our dip.  But, I took them, so you’re getting them, okay?  My garden is bursting with herbs right now.  To the point where I’m drying herbs and actually send them off to people.  I hate waste, so sharing is always the best road to travel.  Given this abundance, herbs have been starring in a number of dishes, and this one is perfect.

Anyway, we choose our herbs—fennel fronds, garlic chives, Greek oregano (is it really Greek, if it’s grown in North Carolina?  Probably not!), and lemon balm.  We just mince up the herbs, very finely grated the lemon zest…you can use regular lemons, but Meyer lemons are just so much more complexly flavorful.  And they work particularly well here.

Then dump everything together and stir it all up.  And you will also note, my mixing “bowl” is actually the yogurt container.  It’s practical, too!  Cover and chill…see why that yogurt container works so well!  You’re set now, for all sorts of good options….

Mediterranean Yogurt-Herb Dip with Meyer Lemon Zest

  • Servings: Makes about 2 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy-Peasy
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  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek-Style yogurt (I prefer whole fat)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced fresh fennel fronds
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced regular or garlic chives (I prefer garlic chives)
  • 2 teaspoons finely minced lemon balm (optional-but very nice)
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced fresh oregano
  • 3 small mint leaves, finely minced (optional, but refreshing)
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, grated
  • Grated zest of 1/2 Meyer lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon (2-3 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I used Diamond®)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (I prefer coarse)
  • 2 large pinches sumac
  • Garnish:
  • Za’atar or toasted sesame seeds, to top
  • Chopped toasted pistachios or pine nuts (optional)
  • Excellent flavored olive oil
  • Assortment of vegetables
  • Potato Chips, toasted pita triangles, water crackers, pretzels
  • Bakes potatoes
  • Falafel

Fold the ingredients together until thoroughly combined.  Refigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop…longer is even better.  Taste and correct the seasoning. To serve, place in a pretty dish, sprinkle with some za’atar or toasted sesame seeds and serve.  A drizzle of good olive oil is delicious, as well.

NOTE:  This can also be made with ricotta, cream frâiche, sour cream or a combination of a couple of these options.  Feel free to change the herbs; dill, mint, basil, tarragon, etc. can be your forward flavor instead of cilantro.  Also, change the citrus to lime, regular lemon or orange.  Stir in finely chopped good quality black olives and/or red pepper flakes…Options!  Serve with an assortment of vegetables; perfect for summer.

Mediterranean Yogurt-Herb Dip with Meyer Lemon Zest Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020.  All rights reserved.