Littleneck clams are the main attraction in this elegant and flavorful cucumber-almond gazpacho from Chef Wylie Dufresne, of New York City's wd~50. Please note that for the smoked paprika oil, use grams as form of measurement to ensure accuracy.
For the Cucumber-Almond Gazpacho
- 2 1⁄2 cups almonds, skinned and sliced
- 1⁄4 cup bread crumbs
- 2 cups water
- 1 cucumber
- 3⁄4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup carbonated grape juice
- Sparkling water
For the Grilled Clams and Garnish
- 100 grams smoked paprika
- 200 grams grapeseed oil
- 1 pinch salt
- 16 littleneck clams
- Red grapes, seeds removed and thinly sliced into coins
- Cucumber, diced
- Scallions, thinly sliced and soaked in ice water to curl
For the soup: Lightly roast almonds. Peel and chop cucumber. Add all ingredients, except sparkling water, to blender and blend. Chill overnight.
Pass soup twice through fine chinois, and thin as necessary with sparkling water.
For the smoked paprika oil: Blend smoked paprika, grapeseed oil, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Place into a small airtight container and allow to sit for 2 days. Shake vigorously twice a day. After two days, strain through a fine chinois and reserve in a squeeze bottle for use as garnish.
For the clams: Place clams on a hot grill. Close grill lid and allow clams to open. Remove and reserve.
To serve: Divide soup among 4 bowls. Place clams in middle of soup, creating a line. Garnish with sliced red grapes and diced cucumber. Dry curled scallions lightly with a paper towel and place on top of clams. Dot soup with smoked paprika oil.