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Cantaloupe Granita

This recipe is adapted from At Home with Michael Chiarello (Chronicle Books 2005).

Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 1/4 cups superfine sugar*

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves

2 large cantaloupes, halved, seeded, peeled and cut into half-inch cubes

1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

*Superfine sugar can often be found in the alcoholic drink-mix section of the grocery store. Or, to produce superfine sugar at home, pulverize granulated sugar in a blender or process in a food processor fitted with the metal blade for about 2 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the mint, remove from heat and let cool completely.

Working in batches, process the melon chunks in a food processor until a smooth puree forms. Pour the sugar syrup through a fine-mesh sieve held over the melon puree, discarding the mint leaves. You may need to press down on the mixture with a spoon to get all of the liquid through. Add the salt, and stir to mix well.

Pour the cantaloupe mixture into a 7-by-12-inch baking dish. Place uncovered in the freezer. Every 30 minutes, remove the dish from the freezer and scrape the contents with a fork, forming shaved ice crystals. Repeat until the mixture is almost completely frozen but still grainy, 3 to 4 hours.

Place the granita in the refrigerator 30 to 45 minutes before serving, so it will soften slightly. Serve in small glass bowls or stemmed glasses.

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