White gazpacho from the Sweet Life Cafe. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)
For dinner tonight, look no further than our Culinary SOS from a couple of weeks ago, requested by Lynne Lipcon of Wayland, Mass.:
"There are plenty of good reasons why President and Mrs. Obama chose to return to Sweet Life Café in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard this summer. In my opinion, the best reason would be to delight in a bowl of 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."
Puréed cucumbers and grapes form the base of this wonderfully fresh, bright soup. Yogurt and sour cream add tangy richness, fresh lemon, a nice touch of garlic, sherry vinegar and a dash of hot sauce round out the harmony. Quick to make, the chilled soup makes for a perfect light meal on a hot summer day.
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The Sweet Life Cafe's white gazpacho
Total time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time
Servings: 4 to 6
Note: 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.
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 crème fraîche
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar, or as desired
Tabasco, or similar hot sauce
Toasted almonds, for garnish
Sliced red grapes, for garnish
Smoked paprika oil, for garnish
1. Purée 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.
2. 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 1½ quarts of soup. Chill the soup, then divide among chilled bowls and garnish with the almonds, grapes and paprika oil before serving.
Each of 6 servings (without garnish): 89 calories; 4 grams protein; 11 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 3 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 8 mg cholesterol; 9 grams sugar; 1,197 mg sodium.