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Celebrate Memorial Day with Ivar's Classic


Memorial Day is coming up and that means it’s time to heat up the grill, gather around with friends and enjoy some delicious (sea)food, and we can’t think of a better way to do so than with some of Ivar’s original, classic recipes! We like to think of these ones as some of our hidden gems of the sea, which also tends to be fresh, lighter fare for a taste of “summer.”


Seafood Cocktail
Serves 4

For the seafood cocktail:

• 1/2 gallon water (1.89 litres if you are Canadian, or a scientist)
• 1 large lemon, halved (Meyer preferred)
• 5 sprigs fresh thyme
• 1 tbsp pickling spice
• 1 tbsp kosher salt
• 24 medium shrimp (about 1 lb), peeled and deveined
• 14 oz cooked baby bay shrimp
• 4 oz cooked Dungeness crabmeat, drained (unless you’re serving sea otters, please remove all the shell pieces)
• 1 ripe avocado, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
• 1 c Ivar’s Original Cocktail Sauce or other cocktail sauce
• 4 tsp finely grated fresh horseradish, or prepared horseradish to taste

For Ivar’s Original Cocktail Sauce (optional, but highly recommended):

• 1/4 c finely chopped yellow onion
• 1 tbsp finely chopped green bell pepper
• 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
• 1/4 tsp sugar
• 1/4 tsp kosher salt
• 1/4 tsp hot sauce
• 2/3 c chili sauce (American-style, not Asian-style)
• 2 tbsp white vinegar
• 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

For the seafood cocktail:

  1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven over high heat, bring the water, the juice of the lemon halves and the halves themselves, thyme sprigs, pickling spice and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the medium shrimp and cook for 2 minutes, or just until the shrimp are opaque in the center. Drain the shrimp in a colander, rinse under cold running water, dry on paper towels and refrigerate, tightly covered, until thoroughly chilled, about 60 minutes.
  2. Arrange the chilled shrimp and bay shrimp, crab and avocado on 4 plates. Put the cocktail sauce in a small bowl, sprinkle it with the horseradish and serve with chilled shellfish.

For Ivar’s Original Cocktail Sauce:

  1. Combine the onion, bell pepper, horseradish, sugar, salt and hot sauce in a small food processor and process until finely chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and process for 15 seconds longer. Serve well chilled and enjoy with your seafood cocktail!



Grilled Halibut Salade Niçoise with Three-Citrus Vinaigrette
Serves 4

For the vinaigrette:

• 2 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice
• 2 tsp honey
• 2 tsp Dijon mustard
• 2 tsp minced shallots
• 1 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (Meyer preferred)
• 1/3 c plus 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tsp drained capers, finely chopped
• 1 tsp finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
• 1/4 tsp kosher salt
• 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the salad:

• 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes
• 1/4 lb green beans, trimmed
• 1/4 lb yellow wax beans, trimmed
• Extra virgin olive oil, for grilling
• 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered
• 1 small zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch-thick slices
• Four, 4-oz halibut filets, skinless
• 4 large green lettuce leaves
• 8 cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1/2 cup Niçoise olives or other Mediterranean-style black olives


  1. To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, honey, mustard, shallots, lime juice and lemon juice. Whisking constantly, very slowly add the oil, mixing until the vinaigrette is thickened. (If you like power tools, make this in a food processor, blender or cement mixer: Whirl everything but the oil together until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil, processing until well combined then transfer the mixture to a small bowl.) Whisk in the capers, parsley, salt and pepper. Set aside at room temperature.
  2. Bring the potatoes and enough cold water to cover to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Drain in a colander. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise. Cook the green and wax beans in a large pot of boiling salted water for 4 to 5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Drain in a colander, rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking and drain again. Dry on paper towels. 
  3. Oil the grill rack and preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat. Brush the potatoes, bell pepper and zucchini with oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and grill, turning frequently, for about 10 minutes for then potatoes, 15 to 20 minutes for the bell peppers and 10 to 15 minutes for the zucchini, until nicely browned and just cooked through. Cut the bell pepper into thin strips. Brush the halibut fillets with oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill the fillets for 8 to 10 minutes, or until just opaque in the center, turning the fish just once, when it releases easily from the grill.
  4. Arrange the lettuce on 4 plates and top with the grilled vegetables, halibut, cherry tomatoes and olives. Drizzle each serving with the vinaigrette and serve.

These may come as a surprise to be noted as some of our classics, but they’ll become go-tos once you try them out (and don’t be shocked when your friends and family request them time and time again!). No matter how you’re spending the holiday weekend, we think it should be with good company and good food, and you can never go wrong with an Ivar’s original!