Black Mint

B lack mint isn’t an herb gone goth, but rather a type of peppermint that’s commonly used for tea and actually turns out to have more of a dark-purplish or brownish cast around the stem. The hardy perennial lives well into the fall, and can often be found at the Stokes Farm stand at Union Square Greenmarket. Although the granité that A Voce pastry chef April Robinson makes with it is wonderfully refreshing in the summer, it’s also an elegant garnish for her season-bridging Chartreuse-roasted Black Mission figs.

Photo: Kang Kim. Illustrations by John Burgoyne.

April Robinson’s Black-Mint Granité
1/4 cup black-mint leaves, washed and stemmed
1 cup milk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Juice from one lemon

(1) Crush mint by stacking and rolling up the leaves and mashing them with the back of a knife. (2) Combine milk and mint in a pot over medium heat, and bring almost to a boil. Remove pot from heat and add sugar, allowing it to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and allow liquid to cool completely. (3) Strain through a fine mesh strainer, add lemon juice, and pour into a shallow metal pan. Freeze, breaking up the ice with the back of a spoon after the first two hours and then every hour or so. Shave with a fork over each portion of roasted figs (see recipe below).

15 small-medium Black Mission figs
Zest from 1 orange, pith removed
3/4 cups orange juice
2 strips lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 star anise, toasted
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons Green Chartreuse

Preheat oven to 400. Cut the tips off the figs. Combine all ingredients and toss in a bowl. Stand figs up in a shallow baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake until plump and soft, but not split (approximately 20–25 minutes). Let cool in pan, preferably overnight in fridge. When ready to serve, slice figs in half lengthwise and warm slightly in a small saucepan with a little roasting liquid over medium heat. Reduce the remaining roasting liquid in a saucepan over medium heat to syrup consistency, about 8 minutes, and drizzle over figs. Divide into bowls, top with granité, and sprinkle each serving with a couple drops of Chartreuse.

Black Mint