Lemon verbena brings out the superb flavor of peaches that have been ripened to perfection. Makes 2 cups.
• 1 pound sweetest fresh ripe peaches, pitted, peeled, and cut into medium dice
• 1/2 cup superfine sugar or more to taste
• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves
• 1 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or to taste
• Lemon verbena sprigs for garnish
1. In a small saucepan, bring peaches, sugar, and water to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until the peaches are tender and the sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Off heat, drain peaches, reserving the poaching liquid, and puree them in a blender or food processor until smooth. Taste; sweeten with some reserved poaching liquid if desired.
3. Add chopped lemon verbena and let stand for 15 minutes, then strain mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice and taste; add enough to make a sweet-tart mixture.
4. Freeze mixture in ice cube trays until solid. In a blender or food processor, pulse 6 frozen granita cubes until mixture forms coarse crystals. Continue adding frozen granita cubes until processed. Serve immediately in chilled martini glasses or dessert dishes garnished with verbena sprigs.
—Jimmy Schmidt, chef, The Rattlesnake Club, Detroit, Michigan
Sally King is a contributing editor for Bon Appétit and lives in Virginia, where granitas are most welcome in summer. The granita recipes she presents here can often be found on the menus of her favorite restaurants.
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