Sicilian granita is a semi-frozen dessert of sugar and water. You can substitute the celery from this recipe with almost anything that’s in season. I first tasted a homemade version of granita in Vermont when one of the boy’s professor served us a small snack flavored with raspberries he grew in his yard. He mentioned that a vegetable as flavoring will even work, so when I returned to New York City, I made it with celery. If you have access to Chinese celery–they are thinner and softer than the American kind–use it because it has a spicier taste to it. This recipe makes a generous bowl of granita.
1 bunch of celery, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
1 tray of ice cubes
mint leaves, finely chopped
1. Make the simple syrup. In a sauce pan, bring water with sugar to a boil. Simmer until clear, about 3 minutes. Pour into a bowl and set aside to cool.
2. Using a food processor, purée celery stalks. With a cheese cloth, strain the celery juice to another bowl to make sure you don’t have any of the pulp. In a blender, chop ice cubes until crushed.
3. To serve, pour over some celery juice and simple syrup in a bowl of crushed ice. Sprinkle some lemon juice to balance out the sweet and sour tastes. You can serve this immediately with mint leaves on top.