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Cool Gazpacho For A Hot Summer

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

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."

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NPR Staff