Once we discovered smoked paprika, it quickly became the most commonly used spice in our kitchen - we cook with it all the time, especially with seafood. In this case, the smoky, spicy and garlicky sauce would not be the same without the briny juices that the clams release while they cook. Adding the cold butter at the end of cooking (instead of with the garlic in the beginning) helps to slightly thicken the sauce, while also making it silky. Serve with plenty of warm crusty bread to sop it all up. —lifeaswecookit
Scrub clams, checking to make sure they are all closed. If any are open, gently tap - if they close immediately, keep; if they stay open, discard. Place closed clams in colander set inside large bowl. Rinse until the water runs clear, changing water as necessary.
Heat large sauce pot over medium-low heat; when hot, add olive oil. Heat 1 minute; add garlic and cook 2 minutes, or until tender, stirring constantly. Add smoked paprika and cayenne pepper; cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Add sherry, clam juice and lemon juice; increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Boil mixture 4 minutes.
Gently add clams to boiling mixture, stirring to coat. Cover pot. Cook clams 6-9 minutes, or until clams start to pop open. As clams open, remove to a serving bowl or individual bowls, using slotted spoon. Tent with foil to keep warm.
Boil liquid in pot 3 minutes, or until reduced slightly. Stir in the cold butter cubes in two batches, stirring each time until the butter dissolves completely. Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired. Add scallions and cook 1 minute, or until the scallions have softened. Pour sherry mixture over clams.