Happy Friday my dears! As things heat up for a long Fourth of July weekend, my thoughts are turning to grills and icy beverages. A few weeks ago I made these deliciously refreshing granitas as a pre-dinner party treat. They are ideal for a flagging, flushed chef, or for sun-soaked guests. The recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook, and, like most things Bittman, it is a breeze. The whole process takes about 2 hours due to freeze time, but only about 10 minutes of active work.
The result is a palette tingling hybrid of a shaved ice and a slushie. The ice crystals crackle and melt on your tongue imbued with the invigorating flush of mint, and the soft, grassy flare of green tea. If you are more inclined towards a sort of French glace, increase the freeze time slightly and enjoy the drink with a spoon. Once in your hot little hand, the granita will begin to melt rather quickly, though I for one find this rather pleasant. Just swirl your glass a bit and slurp away with gusto.
Feel free to combine and adjust ingredients as desired. Perhaps add fresh fruit or berries? Add ginger to the steep process? Skip the tea and increase the lime? The world is your oyster. However, if at all possible, do use a high quality green tea as that will largely determine the complexity of flavor.
Mint and Green Tea Granita
- 2 heaping Tbsp. loose green tea
- 1 large bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked from stem
- 1/4 cup honey, plus more to taste
- Juice of 1 lime
Bring 3 to 4 cups of water just to a boil. Remove from heat and add the tea and mint. Cover and allow to steep for about 10 minutes, then strain to remove the solids. Drizzle in the honey and squeeze in the lime juice. Taste and adjust sweetness as desired.
Transfer the mixture to a shallow pan, such as a glass baking dish, gently place in the freezer and allow to freeze until ice crystals begin to form around the edge (about 20-30 minutes). With a light touch, scrap and stir the crystals into the mixture. Repeat the freezing and stirring process until the granita has a uniform texture of crystals. If you feel like it has become too stiff, transfer to the fridge or leave out for a few minutes. Stir, test for desired texture, and serve with a garnish of mint leaves or fresh berries.