How quickly water freezes determines the size of the ice crystals that form—slower means larger. In this granita, where all of the flavors of gazpacho are crystallized into a frosty form, putting the liquid in a shallow pan helps to speed up the freezing, keeping the crystals relatively small. Even so, if left undisturbed, the crystals would solidify into one large, aggregated collection of ice crystals—an ice block, which would be impossible to serve. Stirring the surface prevents the individual ice crystals from conglomerating, so the granita stays deliciously spoonable.
1½ pounds (2 or 3) beefsteak tomatoes, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons. red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
½ jalapeño, seeded
Combine all ingredients in a blender; blend until very smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, pushing as much of the liquid out as possible. Transfer to a shallow glass or stainless-steel baking pan and place pan in freezer. When ice crystals start forming at the edges, about 45 minutes, stir them into the center with a fork. Stir every 15 minutes until granita is fully crystallized and not slushy, 2–3 hours longer. Serve in chilled dishes.