Sunday, July 26, 2015

Cucumber Granita

Granitas are flavored ices.  They are sometimes served as a dessert, but more often as a palate cleanser between courses.  They can be sweet or savory, but even the savory ones usually have a bit of sweetener in them.  I made one with the leftover syrup from the nectarines.  That ran out the same day I picked a cucumber without any plans how to use it, other than the lime I had bought the week before with some vague ideas.  A quick investigation proved that adding lime to the granita was a good idea.

There are a surprising number of cucumber granita recipes online.  Surprising meaning more than two.  I settled on this one from MyRecipes and didn't tweak it that much.  Mainly, I cut back on the sugar.  My home-grown cucumbers are sweeter than what you get in the market, but I really did not want this to become about the sugar.  It's there to help in crystal formation.

I also decided that a wee bit of alcohol could bring out nuances in an admittedly light-flavored recipe.  Cucumbers aren't really known as flavor powerhouses.  This contains nowhere near enough alcohol to count as a cocktail, and most of it boils off.  I used Tanqueray because I still have Papa Smurf's huge bottle of it.  I've always loved the smell, but I don't really drink hard stuff.  Tequila would be another good choice for this savory recipe, and more likely to be in the average liquor cabinet.  Of course, going alcohol-free is always an acceptable option.

*1 English cucumber (about 1 lb)
*3 limes
1/2 C sugar
1 C water
1/4 tsp salt
*1 Tb gin or tequila, optional
*3 sprigs mint

1.  Grate zest from limes and place in a small saucepan with sugar, water, and salt.  Squeeze juice from limes and add to pot.  Add alcohol, if using, and stir everything together.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Boil for one minute, then remove from heat.  Add mint and allow to steep while you prepare the cucumber, about 10 minutes.

2.  Peel cucumber.  Cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Chop coarsely and place in blender.  Remove mint and pour syrup into blender.  Run until very smooth, about 1 minute.

3.  Strain mixture through a sieve to remove any chewable pieces and pour into a shallow pan, like a loaf pan, and cool in the refrigerator.  Once cooled, move dish to the freezer.  Every 45 minutes or so, run a fork through the mixture to break up the ice crystals.  The process will take at least three hours.  The first couple of times you do the fork thing, it will be slushy.  By the end, you're raking up large, green crystals.  Serve in small dishes between courses, or as an ice near the end of a barbecue.  Garnish with mint, if desired.

Serves 6 to 8

Difficulty rating  :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

I got tired of having to moderate all the spam comments and put back the verification. Sorry if it causes hassles.