Cool Gazpacho For A Hot Summer

Chef Weland's gazpacho i i

Heirloom tomato gazpacho with Dijon mustard ice cream and herbs from the Poste gardens. Petra Mayer/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Petra Mayer/NPR
Chef Weland's gazpacho

Heirloom tomato gazpacho with Dijon mustard ice cream and herbs from the Poste gardens.

Petra Mayer/NPR
Chef Robert Weland

Chef Robert Weland in his "tomato forest" at Poste Brasserie. Michael Harlan Turkell hide caption

itoggle caption Michael Harlan Turkell

This time of year, gardens are running riot, and so is the weather. Few things are tastier during these melting days of July than a cool, spicy bowl of gazpacho, so if you've got more tomatoes than you know what to do with, we've got a recipe for you.

Gazpacho tastes best when you make it with freshly picked ingredients, so NPR's Lynn Neary headed down the street to an unlikely urban garden. Poste Brasserie occupies an old stone building that was once Washington, D.C.'s first post office. In the paved courtyard, Chef Robert Weland has created an oasis of potted herbs, tomatoes and fruit trees that he harvests to create his dishes.

Weland says this year he's got about 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes growing, and the tall plants really do resemble a forest.

Weland picks a few small egg yolk tomatoes for the gazpacho, and some herbs and tomato leaves for the garnish. "Most people may have this thought that tomato leaves are poisonous," he says. "They're actually not poisonous at all, so we do garnish the soup with some tomato leaves."

Down in the Poste kitchen, Weland dumps the tomatoes and herbs, along with onions, cucumbers, peppers and spices into a blender. He's supplemented the garden's produce with some heirloom tomatoes from a local farmers market.

"What's wonderful about this is it's such a simple preparation," Weland says. "And the reason it's so simple is it basically depends on having wonderful ingredients."

Once he's run all the ingredients through the blender, Weland pours his gazpacho out into glass bowls full of peeled small tomatoes and garden herbs. Then he adds an unlikely touch: a scoop of Dijon mustard ice cream. And yes, it really is ice cream.

"It's not something you would necessarily say would work together," Weland says, "but it's remarkable how it really intensifies the flavor of the tomato."

Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho With Djion Mustard Ice Cream

Serves 12

6 cups fresh plum tomatoes

3 cups mixed heirloom tomatoes

3 cups coarsely chopped red onion

3 cups coarsely chopped red peppers

4 cups English cucumbers (1-inch chunks)

2 teaspoon minced garlic

3 sprigs thyme (leaves only)

1 teaspoon Tabasco

salt, to taste

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil (organic)

3 tablespoons Banyuls vinegar

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Combine tomatoes, onion, peppers, cucumbers, garlic, herbs, Tabasco and salt in a bucket. Blend ingredients with large immersion blender until well liquefied. While blending, slowly add all oil until it is smooth and creamy. Transfer in small batches to blender and puree on high for 1 full minute. Pass through chinois. Add vinegar and lemon juice, adjust seasoning. Refrigerate in airtight plastic on ice. Label and date.

Ice Cream

6 cups fresh cream (separate into halves)

1 jar (7oz.) moutarde forte (strong mustard)

18 egg yolks

salt and pepper to taste

organic extra-virgin olive oil for garnish

Mix half of the cream and mustard in saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let infuse for 10 minutes. Place yolks in a bowl and whisk until slightly thickened. Drizzle in half the cream and whisk. Place saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously with a wooden spoon. It should thicken slightly when it reaches 175 degrees. Remove from heat and strain through chinoise. Set custard in a bowl of ice and stir until cold. Cover custard and refrigerate for 1 day. Freeze in machine for 10-15 minutes.

Serve scoop of ice cream in ice-cold glass bowl, and serve gazpacho out of chilled glass pitcher. Drizzle ice cream with organic extra-virgin olive oil and fresh black pepper.

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