This Basil Granita is a showstopper for sure.
It’s fun to see the wonder in people’s faces as you serve this dish – the first look they get. Like “Wow! This is cool.”
Then, when they taste it, it’s fun to see their reactions, “no way. This is the craziest flavor and texture combination I’ve ever had.” and then of course, “you made this?”
You’re going to want to plate an extra so that you can take pictures of it and not have to worry about eating it before it melts. So make an extra take your pics, and then make everyone else’s so that they can eat it right away.
That’s pretty much the experience you’re going to have if you make this for friends/family. If you don’t — let me know what happened instead and we’ll figure out how to get that reaction out of them better. (Perhaps they need tableside smoked cocktails and hot stones to cook beef on – everyone has their thing.)
The Basil Granita Inspiration
This granita recipe is one that I created for a dinner to go with a fresh strawberry sorbet. I got the base granita recipe from the Grammercy Tavern cookbook, but of course edited it a bit and added a different flavor profile. However, it’s also a killer component to this tomato salad. It’s not too sweet – although it does have some sugar in it. The sugar is contrasted by the peppery citrus basil. And when it’s paired with some freshly sliced heirloom tomatoes, it’s a match made in heaven.
The granita will melt, of course, however, if you serve this salad in a shallow bowl, people will be able to scoop up the last bits with spoons. So consider that as a serving option.
It’s easy to make, and if you rake through it half way through freezing you’ll be in great shape. If you’d rather not mess with it, you can let it freeze completely for 6 hours and then let it sit at room temp for a good 5 minutes and then rake it with a metal fork prior to serving. Alternatively, if you want to make this dish ahead, freeze it the day before for 5 hours and then rake it with your fork and place it back in the freezer until you’re ready to serve.
Basil Granita Recipe:
Serves: 8 large portions, or 12 Accent Portions; Active Time: 10 minutes, Total Time: 5.5 hours
1/2 Bunch of Basil, use the other half for garnish
2/3 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
3 3/4 Cups of Water
- Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a heavy simmer. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from heat and let the mixture infuse for 30 minutes.
- Strain the mixture and place into a freezer-safe 9×13 dish.
- Freeze until firm, about 5 hours.
- Remove from freezer and using a fork, scrape the mixture into icy clumps. If using right away serve. If not, cover again and place back in the freezer until ready to serve.
large multi-colored heirloom tomatoes (4 slices per person)
Reduced Balsamic Vinegar
Basil Leaves to Garnish
Optional add on – Burrata Cheese
- Cut tomatoes into thin slices about 1/2″ thick. Place 4 slices in a circle slightly overlapping into each shallow bowl or rimmed plate.
- If using burrata, place 1/2 a large ball, or 1 small ball on top, and lightly score the the top with an X so that it opens up to the center.
- Drizzle the reduced balsamic over the tomatoes and burrata. Garnish with basil leaves.
- When ready to serve, sprinkle or top with the shaved granita and serve immediately.