In my quest to find new uses for the basil in my garden, I wanted to find something a bit unusual. Something that was a bit agrodolce, sour but sweet. Using my newly found epicurious app, I discovered the perfect answer to hot summer days: a basil -mint granita, made with lime juice, zest, and chopped mint and basil. I liked the combo so much I repeated it with lemon zest and juice. I have to say I like the lime better.
A granita is easy to make, just a little time consuming. This one pairs with melon or mango.
2 tbsp lime zest
3/4 cup chopped mint
3/4 cup chopped basil
1 cup sugar plus 2 tbsp
1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
1 1/2 cups cold water
Fresh mint sliced and sprigs to garnish
1 summer melon, cut into wedges
Grate the lime zest and place it, the sugar, chopped mint, and chopped basil into a medium sized bowl. Stir the ingredients then mash or muddle them with a wooden spoon for 3 minutes until the herbs turn dark green.
Add the lime juice and stir for 2-3 minutes then add the water and repeat. Cover the mixture and let it sit for an hour.
Strain the liquid through a sieve, pressing against the herbs until the solids are strained. Reserve 1/4 cup of the syrup to spoon with the melon. Place the rest into a 9×13 metal baking pan and put into the freezer.
Stir the syrup every hour for four hours. When ready to serve take the pan out and using a fork, scrape the ice mixture into fluffy, fine crystals.
To serve, spoon a little of the syrup into a shallow bowl. Then place one slice of melon wedge,and 2-3 scoops of the granita. Garnish with the sliced and fresh mint sprigs.