Spring’s Don’t-Miss Dish in Edible Santa Barbara Magazine
Plenty on Bell, the latest addition to the Los Alamos dining scene, is also a distant relative of Edible magazines! Co-founders of Edible Communities, Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, opened their modest farm-to-table eatery in January, now serving lunch every day from 11-4.
At the helm is long-time Los Alamos chef Jesper Johansson, who has cooked on this street for 16 years. A native of Sweden, he’s gained a large local following with his down-to-earth dishes and scrumptious breakfasts.
At Plenty on Bell, Johansson will focus on local, farm-to-table comfort food. Dishes on the menu are influcenced by his family background of traditional baking and cooking from scratch, as well as the local produce here in Santa Barbara county – with much of it coming from the owners’ gardens right here in town.
Bowls are a signature dish, featuring weekly and seasonal specials and vegan options with around-the-world flavors like white beans & sausage, mussels & frites or Italian pastas. This Spring Farro Bowl features tender Spring vegetables and locally-grown farro from Kandarian Organic Farms. An ancestor of modern wheat, emmer farro is a heritage grain that’s nutrient-dense, GMO-free, nutty and chewy. And it’s 100% organic.
Johansson first rinses the farro, then puts about a cup in 2 cups of water with a pinch of salt and cooks it for about 20 minutes. It should double in size and be al dente when it’s ready. Meanwhile, he blanches the peas and asparagus for about a minute, then transfers to an ice bath. He chops or thinly slices the asparagus, carrots, leeks, radishes, spinach, mint and parsley. To make the dressing, Johnansson puts sherry vinegar, a mix of whole grain and Dijon mustard, lemon, olive oil and salt and pepper in a small jar and shakes it to combine. He then mixes all ingredients together and tops with fresh herbs to serve – grated cheese or harrissa would also work.