Carole & Simone Talk to Chef Gabrielle Hamilton
Plus Melon Granita Recipe
Simone Zarmati Diament and Carole Kotkin
Simone Zarmati Diament is editor-in-chief and publisher of www.SouthFloridaGourmet.com and founder of The South Florida Gourmet, a publication focusing on food, restaurant and wine news, dining entertainment, wines, spirits and travel.
In keeping with Gabrielle’s philosophy to “keep it simple,” here’s my recipe for an easy summer refresher:
Granita, the earliest form of frozen dessert, tastes like a bowl of summer’s most succulent fruits, only more concentrated and much colder. This summertime treat is easy to make and doesn’t require any special equipment. A fork, a baking pan, and a freezer are all that’s needed. It’s a classic Italian ice whose texture of ice crystals is slightly more granular than that of the standard sorbet (the name means literally ‘grained’ or ‘granular’). There are almost no limitations on flavors; they can be summer fruits like peaches, blackberries and nectarines, citrus fruits or spices, and herbs, or chocolate and coffee. The process is simple, just puree, season and freeze. Each time ice crystals begin to form, the mixture is scraped with a fork and the process is repeated until the liquid is frozen. By scraping the ice, rather than preparing a classic sorbet or sherbet, you get a texture that's crunchy but melts almost immediately as you taste it. These fun-to-make light ices are gorgeous served anytime--as a starter, between-course refresher, or dessert.
Serves 4 to 6
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool completely.
Cut melon in half and scoop out seeds. Cut flesh away from rind and slice flesh. Place in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the sugar mixture, salt and lemon juice and mix. You should have about 6 cups.
Pour the granita mixture into a wide and shallow container to a depth of ¼ inch.
Place uncovered in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, remove the dish from the freezer and scrape the ice with a fork, mixing it from the edges into the center.
Repeat this scraping and mixing process until the mixture is almost completely frozen but still grainy, 2 to 3 hours.
When ready to serve place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to soften slightly, then "rake" with a fork to loosen the granita, and spoon into serving dishes.