Cactus Ice Granita
Like okra, cactus leaves have a gelatinous interior that lends a creamy mouthfeel to this lightly spicy, sweet-tart granita. Get the recipe for Cactus Ice Granita ». Matt Taylor-Gross

Cacti are a prickly bunch—probably not the sort of thing you crave on a hot day when you’re jonesing for some refreshment. But consider small, tender nopales—common in a lot of Mexican cooking—which can be trimmed down and turned into a refreshing, savory granita.

This recipe comes from CJ Jacobson, chef at Girasol in Los Angeles and also, recently, Intro in Chicago. Once he removes the spiny bits from the nopales with a knife, he chops them with plenty of jalapeño, boils them, purées them, and then freezes it all into a barely sweet icy treat that’s savory and mineral-tasting. We love it as a palate cleanser, or, as Jacobson serves it, as a complement to a fruity sorbet.

Get the recipe for Cactus Ice »