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Culinary SOS: East Coast chiller was memorable
Dear SOS: There are plenty of good reasons why President and Mrs. Obama chose to return to Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard this summer. In my opinion, the best reason would be to delight in a bowl of the white gazpacho with steamed clams, grapes, almonds and smoked paprika oil. I have never had anything like it, but it is an experience I would love to re-create at home. Can you pry the recipe from them? Thanks. — Lynne Lipcon, Wayland, Mass.
Dear Lynne: Pureed cucumbers and grapes form the base of this wonderfully fresh, bright soup, with yogurt and sour cream adding tangy richness; fresh lemon; a nice touch of garlic; sherry vinegar; and a dash of hot sauce rounding out the harmony. Quick to make, the chilled soup makes a great snack or light meal.
THE SWEET LIFE CAFE'S WHITE GAZPACHO
Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time
Servings: four to six
2 hothouse cucumbers, peeled and chopped (seeds can be removed)
1⁄2 bunch green grapes (about 2 cups)
3 cloves garlic
1 cup yogurt, preferably Greek style
1⁄2 cup sour cream or creme franche
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
Tabasco, or similar hot sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or as desired
Toasted almonds, for garnish
Sliced red grapes, for garnish
Smoked paprika oil, for garnish (see cook's notes)
Cook's notes: Recipe adapted from the Sweet Life Cafe on Massachusett's Martha's Vineyard. To make smoked paprika oil, warm 1⁄3 cup olive oil with 2 tablespoons smoked paprika in a small saucepan, then strain through cheesecloth and cool before using. The restaurant also suggests garnishing the soup with clams steamed in white wine.
Puree the cucumbers in a blender. Push the cucumbers through a sieve into a medium bowl. Blend the grapes and garlic in the blender, then push through a sieve and stir into the cucumbers.
Whisk in the yogurt, sour cream and lemon juice and season with the salt, sugar and vinegar. Add the Tabasco, to taste. This makes about 1-1⁄2 quarts of soup. Chill the soup, then divide among chilled bowls and garnish with the almonds, grapes and paprika oil before serving.