At London’s Chiltern Firehouse, Portuguese chef Nuno Mendes blends European tradition with American comfort food. In his new book with André Balazs, the chef shares some of the recipes that make the Chiltern Firehouse a landmark of classic cocktails and modern cooking.
I have had many granitas in my life but the one that thrilled me and made me want to make them myself was at Noma in Copenhagen, in 2008. It was served with sweet prawns, dill, and cream. It inspired me to try to capture the essence of amazing fruits and vegetables, such as the orange and fennel in this dish, in cold and crunchy textures. Blood orange has a short season, so we try to use it as much as we can while it’s around. A granita is my favorite way to serve it at the Firehouse.
- Pour the Campari and blood orange juice into a large container suitable for freezing.
- Gently heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved, then add it to the orange juice and Campari. Place in the freezer and allow to freeze hard (this will take about 3 hours). Once the mixture has been in the freezer for 2 to 4 hours, remove it every 25 minutes, scraping the mixture with a fork to break up the ice crystals, until it is fully frozen and flaky (scraping the mixture about 3 times should be sufficient). Keep in the freezer until needed.
- Discard the outer layer of the fennel and remove the base of the bulb. Slice the bulb into thin slivers using a mandolin or sharp knife, retaining the fronds for garnish.
- Mix the fennel slivers with the superfine sugar in a mixing bowl until the fennel juice starts to come out. Add the lemon juice, cover, and chill until ready to serve. You can make it up to 1 day in advance.
- Freeze 4 serving bowls ahead of time. Place a dollop of crème fraîche in the bottom of each bowl and top with the sweet fennel and segments of blood orange. Top with the granita and a few fennel fronds.
Reprinted with permission from Chiltern Firehouse by Nuno Mendes and André Balazs, copyright 2017 by Chiltern Street Hotel Ltd. Published in the United States by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Nuno Mendes and André Balazs