Watermelon Granita with Fresh Basil

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A prelude to summer hit our farmer's market with the first appearance of organic watermelons last weekend. We brought home two: one to eat, and one for granitas.

Granitas are the Italian version of an American snow cone/water ice/shaved ice, but better. Originating in Sicily, the texture of the granita varies depending where on the island from which it came. Here in the states, we simply use the tines of a fork to scrape the fruit mixture as it's freezing, creating a unique texture that is both smooth and slushy, and slightly chunky.

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Watermelon Granita with Fresh Basil

Prep time: 10 minutes + 6 hrs. freeze
Allergy info: soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free

Ingredients:
1 (4 to 5-lb.) organic seedless watermelon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup whole fresh basil leaves, washed and dried

Directions:
Remove colored flesh from the watermelon rind. Discard seeds, dice watermelon flesh. In the bowl of a food processor add diced watermelon, salt and sugar; pulse until smooth. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Pour watermelon mixture into strainer. Using a spoon or spatula, press watermelon mixture through strainer; discard any seed pieces and large pieces of pulp.

Pour strained watermelon mixture into a large baking pan or into two large rimmed baking sheets. Cover pan with plastic wrap. Place pan in freezer; freeze 3 hours. Lift plastic wrap and using the tines of a dinner fork, gently scrape the frozen watermelon creating the appearance of shaved ice; cover and freeze 2 hours. Uncover, scrape frozen watermelon; freeze 1 hour or until all liquid is frozen.

Place glasses or bowls in freezer at least 15 minutes before serving granita. Remove granita from freezer, scrape with fork to loosen and fluff ice crystals. Spoon granita into frozen glasses or bowls. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve immediately.

Post by Dawn Viola : dawnviola.com