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Bonkers for Fresh Blueberries at Ivar’s

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It’s that time once again! Here in the Pacific Northwest, the apex of summer brings bushels of berries from farmers near and far. July and August mark the peak harvest time for local blueberries, and other cane berries tend to overlap this harvest (marionberries, blackberries, and raspberries, for example). There’s plenty of berry goodness to be found in local markets, on u-pick farms and definitely here in the kitchens of Ivar’s full service restaurants.

Sweet yet pleasantly tart, blueberries are as healthy as they are delicious. They have just 80 fat-free calories per cup and are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and manganese with trace amounts of protein (who knew!). They also rank high in antioxidants, help promote gut health and have been studied in helping to protect against cancer, heart disease and other age-related diseases.

Did you know that Washington State in particular is the leading producer of fresh blueberries in the nation? It’s true! And a large share of that fresh crop is organic. Blueberry farms are found on both sides of the Cascade Mountain range with a slight majority of growers on the west side of the state. A perfect example is Mutiny Bay Blues, an organic blueberry farm on bucolic Whidbey Island from which Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing Executive Chef Craig Breeden seasonally sources.

Right now at Ivar’s Mukilteo Landing, Breeden has filled the full-serve fresh sheet with inspired beverages (all made with Mutiny Bay Blues fresh blueberries), entrees and a dessert tailor-made to savor the flavor of summer! Sip on Smoke on the Water, fresh blueberries muddled with smoky mezcal, sweet and sour, Cointreau and a Cruzan 151 Rum float; a Blueberry Cosmopolitan made with a fresh blueberry puree, lime, vodka, triple sec and cranberry juice; and the Mutiny On Our Hands, muddled fresh blueberries, rum, Crème de Cassis, mint, lime and soda. Now let’s eat! The Grilled Nectarine Caprese Salad brings the savory, creamy, salty and sweet notes with fresh mozzarella, fresh blueberries, micro basil, balsamic reduction, shaved onion and extra virgin olive oil. Even a popular seafood duo takes a seasonal spin in the Pan Seared Fresh Alaska Halibut and Grilled Shrimp, served with fresh blueberry-mozzarella relish, balsamic reduction, Yukon Gold roasted garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. For dessert, don’t miss the Ivar’s Classic Mixed Berry Shortcake featuring fresh blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, shortcake biscuit, lemon curd and whipped cream.

 

Ivar’s Salmon House on Lake Union is also sweet on blueberries for dessert with a fabulous Washington Peach & Blueberry Shortcake made with an Amaretto biscuit, Devonshire cream and a hint of lemon zest. Pure decadence.

Ivar’s Acres of Clams on the downtown Seattle waterfront has its “berry” own surprises. Its Berry Salad dazzles with seasonal berries – including fresh blueberries – goat cheese, fennel-toasted almonds and a delightful vanilla bean vinaigrette. The Mixed Berry Crisp, featuring blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries crusted with a hazelnut-coconut streusel topping, is a not-to-be-missed dessert.

Have a bounty of fresh blueberries or mixed berries at home? Consider making this delicious Four Berry Crisp using any mix of berries (you’ll just need five pints total for the recipe), courtesy of the Ivar’s Seafood Cookbook. Enjoy the season! 

Ivar’s Four Berry Crisp

Serves 6-8

 

 

Ingredients:

For the berries:

  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 pints blueberries
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint marionberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (Meyer preferred)

For the topping:

  • 1/2 c packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of apple pie spice or ground cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into1/4-inch dice
  • 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick oats)

For dusting, after baking and cooled slightly:

  • Confectioners’ sugar

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch. Cook the berries and sugar in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes or until the berries begin to soften. Increase the heat to high, add the cornstarch mixture, bring to a boil and cook at a full boil for 1 minute. Add the lemon juice. Transfer to an 8-inch square glass baking dish and let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. To make the topping, in a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, flour and apple pie spice with a fork, breaking up any lumps. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles small peas. Stir in the rolled oats. Sprinkle the topping over the berry mixture and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
  3. Let the crisp cool slightly, spoon into serving bowls and serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar. If desired, serve it with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (or both!), as you see fit.