Melon Ice with Mint and Basil
One of the best melon varieties to use in this recipe is Canary, which sports a bright yellow rind. Its cream-colored flesh turns beautifully translucent when frozen into this refreshing granita.
- 1/3 cup (3 oz./90 g) sugar
- 3 cups (1 lb./500 g) Canary, Crenshaw, honeydew or other melon chunks (1/2 to 1 melon, depending on size)
- 1/2 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) honey
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. minced fresh basil, plus a few small leaves for garnish
- 1 tsp. minced fresh mint, plus a few small leaves for garnish
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) water and cook, stirring, until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, 3 to 4 hours, or overnight.
Put a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) metal baking pan in the freezer until well chilled, at least 1 hour.
In a food processor, combine the melon, honey, lemon juice, minced basil and mint, and the cooled syrup and process until smooth. Pour the melon mixture into the chilled pan and place, uncovered, in the freezer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Using a fork, scrape the ice crystals away from the sides of the pan and stir the mixture thoroughly. Continue to freeze, scraping every 30 minutes or so, until the granita is completely frozen into fluffy shards, about 1 1/2 hours total. Spoon the granita into a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover and freeze until serving.
Divide the granita among 6 glass bowls, garnish with 2 or 3 herb leaves and serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti (Weldon Owen, 2011)