In the summer, street vendors all over New York serve watermelon cubes and fresh mangoes sliced into flower shapes, always accompanied by a little condiment bar with salt, chile powder, cayenne, and a bit of bottled citrus juice. This icy granita combines all of those flavors for a sweet, salty, and cooling treat. It is also delicious with a shot of tequila or smoky mezcal poured over the top. An equal amount of sliced mango can be substituted for the watermelon.
- Combine the watermelon, lime juice, sugar, salt, chile powder, and cayenne in a blender or food processor and blend on high until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 9 by 13-inch glass or metal dish and cover with plastic wrap. Slide the dish into the freezer and chill for one hour. Remove the dish from the freezer and scrape the surface with a fork to break up the crystals, cover, and place back in the freezer. Scrape the granita every hour or so until it is completely frozen and crystals have formed throughout. Serve in clear glasses topped with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lime. The granita will keep for about five days, covered, in the freezer.
Reprinted with permission from Sweeter Off the Vine, by Yossy Arefi, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Yossy Arefi