Fennel Granita with Blossoms and Spa Water

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Photo by Jonathan Boncek

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    Spa Water
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • 2 nasturtium flowers
  • 3 basil leaves
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • A few orange slices
  • Granita
  • Stalks and fronds of 2 fennel bulbs, roughly chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • Decorative edible flowers such as nasturtium, begonia, daylily, or sweet pea flowers (anything beautiful and delicious), for garnish
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  1. Place all spa water ingredients in a pitcher or jar and cover with cold water. Leave in the fridge for a few hours, or for as long as you want
  2. Process or grind fennel in a food processor or meat grinder and place in a 3 quart sauce pan with the sugar and water.
  3. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and allow to simmer for five minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid using a fine mesh sieve, strainer, colander, or some cheese cloth into a 9×13-inch pyrex dish and place the pan in a level spot in your freezer.
  5. Check every 10 to 15 minutes and stir with the fork to keep it freezing into delightful chips rather than a solid block. Note that the actual time involved will depend on your freezer, attitude, time zone, and humidity levels, so keep this stirring program up until you have a scoopable slushy that will hold its shape.
  6. Place about ¼ of the spa water into a shallow bowl and sprinkle with a few decorative flowers.
  7. Scoop some granita slightly off center, drizzle a bit of olive oil around so you have little golden beads in the spa water, and finish with a light dusting of black pepper.
  • from Chef Nate Allen of Knife and Fork in Spruce Pine, North Carolina

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