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.




17 responses

22 09 2011
hungry dog

What a lovely idea…a little dollop of summer any time of year.

I feel you on the cold summers…that’s all we ever get in SF. Finally nice now!

23 09 2011

I’ll never forget the dessert I had at a restaurant here in Canberra a few years back: tomato sorbet with goats cheese and coriander. Ever since, I’ve been enamoured with herbs in desserts.

In other words: Yes Camille. Yes indeed.

23 09 2011

I’m going to make some this weekend. Thank you for the recipe!

23 09 2011

Frozen Summer in Portland this year is Lemon-Basil (and Mint) Sorbet. Can’t stop eating it. I also can’t stop pureeing the watermelons and drinking them. Clearly, I will need to combine these two forces tomorrow, likely our last hot day of the year.

23 09 2011

hungry dog – We’re finally getting some sun here, too, but it’s still not very warm. 😦

Hannah – That sounds marvelous!

Ryan – It is my pleasure! I hope you like it!

erin – Yes! Watermelon-basil-mint-lemon slushie!

25 09 2011

I think the next couple of days are going to be nice! Fingers crossed.

25 09 2011

Jessica – I’ve heard that, too. Here’s hoping! 🙂

25 09 2011

There’s a watermelon rind pickle comon in Thai cuisine – the vinegar sweetness sets off the salty heat of gai yang (thai bbq chicken) beautifully.

25 09 2011

Mmmm… I’ll never forget my first business lunch ever, at the Gramercy Tavern. The dessert was black pepper ice cream with basil syrup. I love the idea of combining basil with watermelon sorbet, too.

26 09 2011

Wow that does sounds like a nice thing to do with watermelon. And how lovely to have some for the fall (which has actually been pretty nice here)! And I’m ALWAYS looking for zucchini recipes this time of year. I’ve been trying some new ones myself that I’ll definitely be posting about soon.

27 09 2011
Anna Johnston

What a bummer about your summer, I’d be so sad. Although this here dessert looks amazing. Yummo!!!! Can’t wait to try it, and I’ve all the ingredients just waiting to be used. 🙂

27 09 2011

Fiona – That’s a great idea! Thanks!

Ann – Black pepper ice cream is very intriguing…

Hopie – Looking forward to it!

Anna – Sounds like it’s meant to be. 🙂

6 10 2011
Jenn Campus

We are way past watermelon season here – but I will bookmark for next year!

9 10 2011
Veronica Gantley

Oh how I miss summer already and fall has just begun. What a wonderful treat! Thanks for sharing.

10 10 2011

That looks so good.

10 10 2011

I think I’m going to prune my basil plant and make this for my mom when she comes to visit this weekend. This is one of her favorite flavor combinations!

11 10 2011

Jenn – Oh, yeah, this one’s a keeper! 🙂

Veronica – I know, me too!

Joy – Thanks!

Michelle – Fantastic!

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