green tomato cocktail

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green tomato cocktailAcidic, fresh, smoky—here the ocean meets the land. Soft meets frozen, too, and the oyster meets its country cousin, the oyster leaf. Unripe tomato, which provides a vegetal grounding, is as much of a star as the shellfish is. This dish is an explosive way to begin a meal, containing in a few bites enough flavor and texture to rev the palate and focus the mind.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • grams | 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 30 grams | ⅓ cup chopped celery
  • 25 grams | 2 ½ tablespoons sliced shallot
  • 12 | cherrystone clams, soaked in ice water for 20 minutes
  • 650 grams | 2 ¾ cups water
  • 480 grams | 2 cups tomato water
  • 13 grams | about 4 sheets bronze gelatin, bloomed in ice
  • water and wrung gently of excess water
  • liquid nitrogen
  • 500 grams | 18 ounces green tomatoes
  • 500 grams | 18 ounces green tomatoes
  • 24 grams | 2 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 grams | 1 teaspoon plankton
  • kosher salt
How to Make It
  1. FOR THE TOMATO CLAM SNOW: Combine the oil, celery, and shallot in a rondeau over high heat and sweat for about 3 minutes, just until the fragrance of the vegetables is released. Drain the clams and add them along with the water to the rondeau and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 6 minutes, until the clams open fully. Remove the clams from the pan, then strain the liquid and reserve the clams and liquid separately.
  2. Combine the tomato water and clam liquid in a saucepan over low heat and heat to just over 100°F (38°C). Remove from the heat, add the gelatin, and allow the gelatin to melt. Whisk briefly and season with salt.
  3. Distribute the mixture among small (1-cup/240-milliliter) containers and freeze for about 2 hours, until frozen solid. Carefully put the liquid nitrogen into a deep metal container (excessive changes in temperature or agitation of the liquid nitrogen may cause it to become volatile). Using a fine-tooth grater, shave the frozen tomato-clam mixture into the liquid nitrogen. Pour the liquid nitrogen through a small strainer to remove the snow and store the snow in a dry plastic container in the freezer until needed. Shell and trim the cooked clams and reserve in a covered container in the refrigerator.
  4. FOR THE GREEN TOMATO VINAIGRETTE: Put the tomatoes in a blender and mix on high speed for about 30 seconds, until liquefied. Line a strainer with cheesecloth, place over a bowl, and pour the tomatoes into the strainer. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Season with the lemon juice, plankton, and kosher salt. Refrigerate in an airtight container until needed.
  5. FOR THE CLAM PREPARATION: Cut the geoduck clam from its shell and discard the intestines. Prepare an ice bath. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the clam and blanch for 35 seconds. Remove the clam from the water and shock in the ice bath for 30 seconds, then peel the skin from the clam. Cut the clam in half lengthwise and hold on dry paper towels in the refrigerator.
  6. Drain the surf clams. Insert an oyster shucker or petty knife into the opening of a surf clam, cut as close to the shell as possible, and pull back the top shell to open fully. Cut on the other side of the shell and remove the clam completely.
  7. Remove the abductors and reserve for another use. Discard the stomach and mince the remaining clam meat. Repeat with the second surf clam. Season the clam meat with the oil and Maldon salt and refrigerate in a covered container until needed.
  8. FOR THE LOVAGE OIL: Prepare an ice bath. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a small bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with salted water to a boil, add the lovage leaves, and blanch for 20 seconds. Drain and shock in the ice bath for 30 seconds. Remove the leaves from the water and reserve the ice bath. Wrap the leaves in a piece of cheesecloth and press out the excess water. Transfer to a blender, add the oil, and mix on high speed until the oil reaches a temperature of 170°F (77°C). Strain through the cheesecloth-lined strainer into a bowl, then nest the bowl in the ice bath to cool. Add the lovage stems to the oil and hold in the refrigerator until needed.
  9. FOR THE SEASONED TOMATO WATER: Strain the tomato water through a very fine cloth filter, then season with Maldon salt.

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