Makes about 1 quart
Celebrity chef Elizabeth Falkner enthusiastically embraced SCHARFFEN BERGER Chocolate in its earliest days. Elizabeth's excitement over dessert making leads her to use ingredients we would never have imagined. Her addition of fresh basil and spinach to mint chip ice cream makes the old standard suddenly seem lack luster. If you like cilantro, Elizabeth suggests adding a handful with the spinach.
In a small saucepan, combine the milk and sugar and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. (The milk syrup should be chilled before it is added to the blanched spinach because if it is warm, the syrup can cook the spinach further and change the color from pale green to khaki.)
In a clean small saucepan, combine the cream, mint, and basil and bring to a simmer over medium-low to medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover, and allow the herbs to steep in the cream for 30 minutes.
Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. Drop the spinach leaves into the boiling water and blanch for 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the leaves to the ice water, then remove the leaves from the water and dry on a kitchen towel. Wring out any excess water.
Coarsely chop the spinach.
Line a fine-mesh strainer with dampened cheesecloth and place over a medium bowl.
Place the spinach and half of the milk mixture in a blender and blend well. With the blender running, slowly add the remaining milk.
Strain the milk mixture into the bowl. Lift up the cheesecloth and carefully wring out any remaining liquid through the strainer into the bowl. Then pour the cream mixture through the strainer into the bowl, and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Place a metal bowl in the freezer to chill. Pour the ice cream base in an ice cream maker and freeze following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the ice cream to the chilled metal bowl and fold in the chocolate. For a firmer ice cream, place in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours before serving.
Serve alone or with the hot fudge sauce.