Frozen Summer

22 09 2011

Unlike North America, here in France we had the coldest July in a decade.  We got our summer in fits and starts – I can’t recall any significant periods of wishing for a fan or not wearing a sweatshirt or jacket on my morning commute.  Bu we did have some nice days, here and there.  On one of these, Nick brought home a watermelon on a whim.  It seemed like such a good idea to keep it in the fridge, and have slices of cold, juicy melon serve as a light dessert on warm evenings.

But do you know what seemed like an even better idea?  Freezing it.  Seasoning it with a little basil, grown in our very own windowbox (thanks to Katia for the seedling!), and ensuring that even on cloudy days in September, we could still have a taste of the fleeting sunshine.

Sweet summer in a glass!

This sorbet recipe could very easily be prepared as a granita instead, by following the instructions here.  No ice cream maker required!  Should you be looking for something to do with the watermelon rind that inevitably gets tossed, might I suggest pickling?  (And may I ask for your suggestions on ways to serve said pickles?)  Lastly, if you’re still working on a mountain of zucchini from an overproductive garden, and want something new to do with them, try my recipe for vol-au-vents with Provençal zucchini over at Girls’ Guide to Paris.  It might be something you haven’t made before.

Watermelon-Basil Sorbet

Tastes like pure summer.

1 lb. 10 oz. / 750g watermelon, cut into chunks (weigh after cutting off the rind)
pinch sea salt
1 cup / 225ml basil syrup (recipe below)
½ lime or lemon, juice (optional)

1. Combine the watermelon with the salt and syrup. Liquefy in a food processor, blender, or in a bowl with a hand blender. Taste. If it’s too sweet, brighten the flavor with a squeeze of citrus juice. Chill thoroughly.
2. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Serve in chilled glasses with sprigs of basil for garnish. For a more elaborate presentation, top with dollops of lightly sweetened whipped cream, a drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar, and a sprinkling of black pepper.

* * *

Basil Syrup

A great way to add some herbal nuance to cocktails, too!

3 stems fresh sweet basil, with leaves
1 cup / 225ml water
8 oz. / 225g sugar

1. Put everything in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and steep 15-30 minutes. Strain and chill completely before using.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.








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