CUCUMBER GRANITA RECIPE
Who doesn't love a cucumber?Picklers, slicers, green or yellow, smooth or bumpy, thin- or thick-skinned, chubby Kirbys, little cornichons, English, Japanese, Persian. Good thing then that with the impending heat comes cucumber season.They peak with the tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and those other cucurbits, squashes and melons, but among all these, cucumbers are the most like Johnny Depp -- very, very cool. With their refreshing herbaceous flavor and their snappy crunch, cucumbers are exactly what we want to eat right now -- still (they've been cultivated for more than 3,000 years).And they lend themselves to the way we want to cook right now too -- with a sort of easy abandon, pureed in soups, chopped into salsas, sliced into salads. A favorite two-sentence recipe for cucumber, mango and red onion salad from Alice Waters' "Chez Panisse Vegetables" goes like this: "Peel and thinly slice cucumbers, mango and sweet red onion -- about the same of each, but exact proportions do not matter at all. Season to taste with freshly squeezed lime juice and salt, and garnish generously with cilantro leaves."Chopped into yogurt, you have raita for spicy Indian dishes. Or sliced, with a little white vinegar, sugar, salt and green onions, they're more Hapsburg Empire, served with cold poached salmon or chicken.Cucumbers' flavor is often described as mild, yet it's distinct enough to hold its own, slightly sweet and slightly bitter. It's great featured in chilled soups such green gazpacho or Russian okroshka. Cool, creamy yogurt (or creme fraiche!) -- as with the raita -- is a no-brainer for cucumbers. (Dress sliced cucumbers with yogurt, stir in some dill, cilantro, basil, chervil or chives, and serve with cured salmon.) And for a chilled soup, cucumbers and yogurt couldn't be better matched, spiked with a little garlic and a touch of white wine vinegar and garnished with crunchy radishes and grains of sea salt.Their light sweetness really comes out in a beautiful and elegant cucumber and crab salad. The tender crab is a little sweet too and is tossed with herbs and shallots and a little lemon juice.The cucumbers are sliced lengthwise into ribbons on a mandoline, and the slices are arranged architecturally -- forming layers between the crab, sort of like a napoleon, but looser, more floppy, more ... summery.And what makes a better palate cleanser than a cucumber granita? Icy cool with a hint of sugar and some cracked black pepper, it's perfect for a hot, hot day. The flavor of the cucumber shines through the sweet and the spice.For dessert? If you were Providence pastry chef Adrian Vasquez, it would be a timbale of Greek yogurt and honey panna cotta with cucumber gelee and cucumber "noodles" with cantaloupe sherbet.
Provided by Betty Hallock
Categories VEGETARIAN, APPETIZERS
Yield Serves 6 to 8
Number Of Ingredients 5
- Peel two of the cucumbers but leave the peel on the third cucumber for color. Rinse the cucumbers to remove any residue or dirt.
- Trim the ends off the cucumbers and slice them in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Cut the cucumbers into 2-inch chunks and puree them in a blender or food processor along with one-fourth cup water. Add the lime juice, sugar, pepper and salt.
- Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
- Spoon the granita into a chilled glass dish until it is firm enough to hold its shape. Serve a small scoop in a bowl as a palate refresher between courses.
Cool, crunchy cucumber is a quintessential antidote to the dog days of summer. During cancer treatment, cucumber's fresh taste can be a boon to improve the taste of water, but it's in this granita that it truly comes into its own. Cucumber granita is not only delicious on it's own as a refreshing snack, it is also perfectly used French style to refresh the palate in between courses. Think the next BBQ, how great would a little of this icy treat taste after say, a plate of chicken to clear the way for the next delicious thing off the grill? Try it!
Provided by Cook for Your Life Staff
Number Of Ingredients 1
- Puree all ingredients until smooth. Taste for sweetness.
- Pour the cucumber juice into a 9 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking pan and put into the freezer. After 30 minutes, with a fork scrape to form flaky texture. Continue to scrape the surface every 30 minutes until you have a fluffy snowy consistency. Serve or keep in an airtight container in the freezer, scraping every so often to keep a light texture.
Nutrition Facts : Calories 184
CUCUMBER AND SAKE GRANITA
- In a blender, purée the sugar and 1/4 cup water on high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, let rest for a minute and then purée again for 30 seconds.
- Add the cucumbers, melon, lime juice, sake and a pinch of salt. Purée the mixture until smooth, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large baking dish. Freeze the mixture. Scrape with a fork until light and fluffy, like fresh snow. Serve in small bowls or glasses, topped with a light sprinkle of sea salt and shiso leaf.
Nutrition Facts : @context http, Calories 59, UnsaturatedFat 0 grams, Carbohydrate 13 grams, Fat 0 grams, Fiber 1 gram, Protein 1 gram, SaturatedFat 0 grams, Sodium 351 milligrams, Sugar 10 grams
CUCUMBER AND RIESLING GRANITA
- Wash cucumbers, and pass through a juicer. Place in an 8-inch square metal baking pan, and add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine, and place in the freezer, uncovered, 1 hour; remove from freezer, and stir with a fork.
- Return to freezer until mixture is frozen and granular, about 3 hours, stirring every 30 to 45 minutes. Serve, or cover with plastic wrap, and store in the freezer up to 2 weeks.
HONEY-DEW AND SAKE GRANITA
- To make the granita:
- In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 3-1/2 cups water and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring. In a blender purée the ginger with the syrup, the wine, and the food coloring, chill the mixture until is cold, and stir it. Transfer the mixture to 2 metal ice-cube trays without the dividers or to a shallow metal pan and freeze it, stirring and crushing the lumps with a fork every 30 minutes, for 2 to 3 hours, or until it is firm but not frozen solid. The granita may be made 2 days in advance and kept covered and frozen. Scrape the granita with a fork to lighten the texture.
- On each of 4 plates arrange 2 of the honeydew slices and top 1 of the slices on each plate with a scoop of the honeydew and sake granita. Top the other slices with a scoop of the pickled ginger and plum-wine granita.
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- In a blender, purée cucumber to a fine pulp. Add lime juice, green tea powder, and salt. Season with more salt and lime juice, if desired. Transfer to a large metal baking pan and freeze until solid.
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