Minty Granita (Granizado de Menta)
First, can we just agree that for now, right on the cusp of two seasons, summer is a state of mind? Great. Then this post won't seem a bit out of place in late September. I have a book, The New Spanish Table, by Anya von Bremzen, and this is the first time I've cooked from it. But I have about 20 recipes flagged. I love the look and feel of this book, the occasional color illustrations, the historic and ethnic background Bremzen gives at the beginning of many recipes and in the introductions to each section. And I love the Art Nouveau type-face for the titles, so fitting for a book on the country that gave us Barcelona at the fin de siècle. About granitas, Bremzen explains, that Moorish nobility in the Andalusia of the middle ages first chilled sherbets with ice brought in from the mountains. They still appear frequently in present-day Spanish cuisine. They require no special equipment, just a shallow pan (like a jelly roll pan) and a fork. Well, and three hours to kill, punctuated by 30 minute intervals of scraping, which is the approximate amount of time it will take for the grantia to come together. Lucky for us, I'm a grad student, and spend my time at home studiously reading.
2 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about the juice from half a lemon)
Place the mint leaves in a colander and slowly pour some boiling water over them to blanch. Plunge them right away into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.
In the meantime, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Let cool completely.
Drain the mint, and put it in a blender along with the sugar water and lemon juice and blend until it's, well, blended.
To freeze any granita, pour your mixture into a shallow metal pan (like a jelly roll pan), cover it with aluminum foil and place it level in the freezer. Ice crystals should begin to form after about 30 minutes, at which time, take your fork and scrape the mixture around. Return it to the freezer and repeat the process every 30 minutes for about 3 hours, until all the liquid has been frozen. Fluff and mash the granita one final time, place it back in the freezer for 20 minutes and serve.
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I'm sending this post in to Tongue Ticklers, for the monthly Food in Colors event. September's color is green!