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Sea-Salted Olive Oil Ice Cream

Sea-Salted Olive Oil Ice Cream

I wish I could say I first had olive oil ice cream in Florence—olive trees lined up like little children, the Arno roaring past my window every morning, beckoning that I step out to taste the fruits of Italian decadence along its salty foam...

But instead, I was back home in Georgia, where nonetheless I had the most delicious olive oilstracciatella gelato at a Mediterranean restaurant downtown. I've omitted the chocolate here, mostly out of sheer laziness but also out of fear that I would muddy up the voluptuous cloud that I was able to manage with a mere handful of pantry ingredients.

But let me tell you about this cloud: first, the sea salt hits you like a whetting appetizer, but instantly recedes to the corners of your now salivating tongue to let in the fruity olive oil, whose subtle unctuousness coats your mouth and folds into the eggy Italian-style custard like a yellow duvet—all within the span of 5 Mississippis (or 10 Arnos). You counting?

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups milk
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
Ice cream maker

In a pot, heat the heavy cream and milk until scalding but not quite simmering. (Watch it carefully; mine always boils over.)

Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow.

Very slowly pour the hot cream and milk into the egg yolks, whisking vigorously.

Pour the mixture back into the pot and cook on medium-low heat 5 minutes, stirring constantly—this time with a wooden spoon—until the custard thickens slightly and loses its bubbles. (It should coat the back of the spoon so that when you run your finger across it, a clear path is left—like when Moses parts the Red Sea in Exodus.)

Let the finished custard cool completely before covering tightly and refrigerating overnight.

The next day, whisk in the olive oil and sea salt. Then churn in an ice cream maker about 30 minutes and store in an airtight container in the freezer until firm, 3–4 hours or overnight.

Note: As this ice cream is quite rich, serve as a single quenelle with a garnish of sea salt.

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