Giada De Laurentiis Says You Should Be Freezing Your Caprese Salad—Yes, Really
But this week, amid the steamy heat wave that's hovering over most of the country, we discovered her hot take—actually, cold take—on one common Italian salad that has us thinking of this celeb chef in a whole new light. In addition to being a mom, TV host, cookbook author, travel-lover, gift guide-creator and pasta pro, De Laurentiis is apparently a magician (well, almost!) because she's turning caprese salad into granita.
Once there, we spied some related granita recipes, including this savory riff that De Laurentiis describes as "a sundae you can eat for dinner."
De Laurentiis explains that she has been using tomatoes as the base for sorbet and granita for years, and loves this Caprese Granita recipe so much, she even demonstrated it on her Food Network show, Giada in Italy's "Inspired by Capri" episode.
"Tomatoes are fruit, after all, and their late-summer sweetness is unbeatable. There have been some days this summer where it almost felt too hot to eat, and while we're still in the midst of this crazy heat wave, this dish is our solution," De Laurentiis explains. "It's a cooling, texturally exciting light bite that you're going to want to make again and again while tomatoes are still growing like crazy!" (BTW, in case you want to DIY, here's how to start a tomato container garden.)
To make it, add fresh, quartered tomatoes plus a bit of kosher salt, a spoonful of sugar, a healthy splash of white balsamic vinegar and some water to a blender. Blend on high for a minute or so, then strain this tomato mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and into an 8-inch-square baking dish. Discard the seeds, skins and any other solids left in the strainer.
Pop the dish in the freezer for two hours, then check in on the icy mixture. Use a fork to scrape it around the dish and break up the frosty pieces. Return this savory ice back to the freezer for two more hours, or until it is frozen solid.
At this point, your Caprese Granita is ready to serve. Use a fork to scrape shards into small bowls, then top each serving with quartered fresh mozzarella cheese balls (aka ciliegene), pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil and flaky sea salt (like Maldon).
Fans who have tried it confirm that this unique riff on salad might just become your new favorite summer starter: "This recipe is AMAZING! Everyone loved it; super-refreshing," one home cook says. "It will be a staple for my summer entertaining!"
Scared off by the tomatoes? Ease your way in by trying half-and-half watermelon, or all watermelon instead of the tomatoes, De Laurentiis suggests.
No matter which way you go for this healthy-ish granita, chances are you'll be going back for seconds.