Make Herb-Infused Granitas: Savory Lemongrass Granita

| June/July 1999

  • Tarragon and blood oranges, lemon verbena and peaches, and mint and grapefruit combine in these dare-to-be-different granitas.

Samuelsson serves this granita with raw, sushi-quality yellowtail tuna, caviar, and mustard-flavored oil. Preparing raw fish at home can be tricky and is best left to the experts; however, this granita—cold in temperature but hot with spices—is also delicious with cold poached salmon or grilled tuna. Makes 2 cups.

• 1 8-inch-long piece fresh lemongrass, ­split lengthwise
• 1 slice fresh gingerroot, 1/2 inch thick
• 3 bags orange-flavored herbal tea
• 2 cups water
• 6 whole black peppercorns
• 2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
• 2 tablespoons aquavit or vodka (optional)

1. In a large saucepan, bring all ingredients except the aquavit or vodka to a boil. Remove pan from heat, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Strain out the solids, then stir in the aquavit or vodka. Pour into a bowl and freeze until solid. The alcohol, if used, will prevent the granita from becoming rock hard.

2. Chop the mixture coarsely with a fork. Serve immediately with salmon or yellowtail tuna, plain crackers or toast points, and osetra caviar as a first course.

—Marcus Samuelsson, chef, Aquavit, New York

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