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Take a cool dip into summer cucumbers

A cucumber confession commenced my latest food section column.

Despite my lifelong fondness for pickles, I only came around to fresh cucumbers — even garden-grown ones — within the past few years. Consuming cucumbers within an hour of quick pickling as an easy summer side dish has a lot to do with my acceptance.

Seasonal preparation of tzatziki, the Mediterranean and Middle East regions’ quintessential cucumber condiment, also has helped tremendously. We serve it as a spread for lamb burgers, sauce for shish kebabs and drizzle over falafel.

In some traditions, however, tzatziki is so thin it’s more of a soup, or so thick it’s more of a dip. The latter is evoked in this recipe from “Come On Over! Southern Delicious for Every Day and Every Occasion,” by Elizabeth Heiskell.

Besides serving with crudités and crostini (or pita or tortilla chips), pair it with lamb, cold-poached salmon, even hamburgers and hot dogs.

Find a recipe for traditional Greek tzatziki, as well as an eggplant dip, in this 2015 story.

Tribune News Service photo

Cold Cucumber Dip

1 1/2 pounds cucumbers, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed

Salt and pepper, to taste

3/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons Champagne vinegar

Using a food processor, puree the cucumbers. Line a colander with a cheesecloth and set it in the sink. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons salt with cucumber puree and transfer it to colander. Let sit and drain for 1 hour.

Gather cheesecloth together and give cucumber one more good squeeze to ensure it's as dry as possible.

Place cucumber pulp in a bowl and add the sour cream, yogurt, mayonnaise, dill, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Mix well.

Add more salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate until chilled thoroughly, at least 2 hours or up to 4 days, before serving.

Makes 6 servings.