Fall’s Don’t-Miss-Dish in Edible Santa Barbara
You might not guess it, but one of the best places to eat local fish is the cozy, modern Danish restaurant inside the renovated Landsby hotel in Solvang: Mad & Vin. Both the ceviche and the Herb Crusted Fish of the Day with crispy quinoa, fall squash and Swiss chard come from our local waters.
The supplier is Buellton native Travis Meyer, who’s been fishing here his whole life. When he recently began selling his local wild Halibut and other white fish to Industrial Eats (or select spots on the valley), newly promoted Head Chef Beto Huizar quickly jumped on board.
Meyers’ local catch is the inspiration for the Herb Crusted Fish, paired with local fall vegetables, crispy red quinoa (a house original) and a sauce from house-made orange shrub (a traditional technique of preserving fruit). Huizar was raised on a farm in Mexico, where everything was fresh and his grandmother cooked from scratch. After arriving here in the valley at 18, he worked in various kitchens, always keeping his eye on local ingredients.
To make this dish, Huizar dries fresh thyme, oregano and sage in the oven, then mixes in salt, sesame seeds and sumac. He salts the fish, presses the herb mix on the non-skin side, then sautÈes it in oil over medium heat – crusted side down first, then flip, 2 minutes on each side. To crisp red quinoa, cook as directed, then deep-fry in small batches for about 1 min. (You can also pan-fry over medium heat in oil for 5-6 mins.) Slice the vegetables and roast in a 350 degree oven with olive oil, salt and pepper until done. Blanch the chard, then sautÈe with sliced garlic.
Finish the fish in a 350 degree oven for about 6 minutes or until done and reduce the orange shrub or vinegar by one-third, and add vanilla paste. Top the vegetables and quinoa with the fish, and add the reduced sauce and some edible flowers.