You know that friend that eats ALL of your black jelly beans? But, you don’t really mind, as long as he steers clear of all your buttered-popcorn ones. Everyone stands around the bowl of corn syrup-based confections and turns over their unwanted black beans to the guy in the corner who’s having the best day of his life.
I’m not that guy. I’m not even that girl. I’m not a huge advocate of licorice flavor. So, when I took my first taste of the thai basil that was growing in my herb garden, I was deeply disappointed.
“This does not taste like summer. This does not belong in my pesto. This does not make me happy.” Thus, I resolved to avoid the herb-disguised leaves of anise flavor.
Thai basil is very unlike the traditional basil you would normally use to make pesto, as it closely matches the flavor of anise. Very strong, herby, anise. It wasn’t the taste that I minded, it was more the disappointment of my Italian basil expectations. After some thought I considered that, perhaps, I hadn’t given this herb a fair shot. I had used it as I would have used normal basil and it could by no means compare. But in fact, it wasn’t supposed to. Thai basil has its job and Italian basil has its - I was judging based on expectations. Forgive me herbs, it won’t happen again.
My final resolve was to mingle these green leaves with sugar and sweet berries - what could go wrong. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I saw this precious herb for what it really was. And, what it really was happened to be pretty fantastic.
If you cannot find this herb at your local mega mart, check around the plant nurseries. This version of basil is becoming almost as popular as its cousin.
The anise-like flavor is a perfect complement to blackberries and a super refreshing summer treat.
Don’t judge your herbs.
Blackberry and Thai Basil Granita
-12 ounces fresh blackberries
-1/2 cup thai basil (roughly chopped)
-1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
-1 1/2 cups water
In a small saucepan combine water and sugar. Bring to a boil over medium high heat until sugar has completely dissolved.
In the work bowl of your food processor combine berries and basil; pulse until smooth. Add sugar syrup and pulse to combine.
Pour the granita base into a 8x8 glass pan and move into the freezer. Freeze for 1 hour then use a fork to brush ice crystals from the sides of the pan. Return to freezer for 20 minutes before *raking with a fork again. Continue this process for 1 1/2 hours, fully frozen into crystals. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
* the “raking”method gives the granita an icy texture and prevents it from turning into a solid block.