A Spoonful of Summer: Frozen Basil Granita with Sweet Peaches and Fresh Cheese Mousse

August 26, 2015

This refreshing Frozen Basil Granita, Sweet Peach and Fresh Burrata Cheese Foam Amuse is an impressive opening act to Chef Martinez's tasting menu and a perfect way to celebrate the last weeks of summer in Chicago. “Granita” is originally from Italy and is a semi-frozen dessert, frozen using a variety of techniques depending on its desired texture and ingredients. It is reminiscent of Italian ice; however it has a coarser, crystalline texture. What makes granita distinct and unique is that it is never creamy like ice creams and not as compact as sorbets. The smoother types of granita are typically produced in a gelato machine, while the coarser varieties are frozen with occasional agitation, then scraped or shaved to produce separated crystals. The basil granita used in this amuse is made by a “fluffing” technique. Beneath the basil granita are layers of diced peaches compressed in lemon vinegar and simple syrup that give a wonderful bite of sweetness and tartness to each spoonful. The colors of the ripe peach against the fresh greens of the basil and the pure white of the burrata foam are simply stunning. Chef in Kitchen Traditionally, burrata is a ball of mozzarella curds infused with cream, like a water balloon. The mozzarella curds form a pliable yet taut outer layer when the are warmed in salted water. By creating a cold foam Chef Martinez has elevated and simplified the traditional burrata. There is no doubt that this foam will take guests by surprise with its unique balance between the taste of fresh burrata; creamy, savory and rich, and the lightness of its foam form. image 1 Fino verde basil leaves garnish the burrata foam on top. Fino verde basil is an attractive, small-leaved bush basil. The tiny greens taste of pure sweet basil; excellent as a fresh garnish. This refreshing and hydrating amuse is an impressive start to Chef Martinez's tasting menu at Intro.