Santa Barbara and Darth Vader of the Sea

A perfect day for me is waking up early, basket in tow and heading to a local market, like the one in Santa Barbara. I recently visited friends and we spent a good part of the mornings tasting our way through the various offerings–golden raspberries and local avocado honey, caviar limes (aka Australian finger lime), stone fruit–and cooking everything from burrata with heirloom tomatoes and basil oil to several pints of salted caramel pine nut ice cream. We came home that first day with fresh lavender, Sungold tomatoes, fresh linguine, cranberry beans, green garlic, peaches, plums…

Then we headed over to the Santa Barbara Fish Market, a tiny gem busting with fresh oysters, Santa Barbara uni, and my favorite catch of the day, a whole black cod, that a friend nicknamed “Darth Vader of the Sea.”

We stuffed Darth with Ojai oranges and grilled him, along with peaches wrapped in prosciutto di Parma, and tossed up some salads–fingerling potato with dill and spring onions; tomato, mint, and feta; fresh beans, green garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro–and later, walked along the ocean. Darth proved to be silky and delicious with nothing dark about him.

5 comments... read them below or add one


  1. September 14, 2011 3:47 pm by alison gee Reply

    Looks insanely delicious. I must try Darth Vader. Also, the way to a girl’s heart is through prosciutto!

  2. September 14, 2011 4:12 pm by kim Reply

    I totally agree that the way to a girl’s heart is prosciutto and, in keeping the Italian theme…maybe a few Missoni-swirled goodies….

  3. September 14, 2011 5:24 pm by Brian Garrido Reply

    Looks beautiful. I love Santa Barbara seafood. Next time, let’s make the trip together.

  4. September 15, 2011 4:02 pm by Seung Hee Reply

    That’s such a beautiful looking Darth Vader. Hahaha. Good eats! :)

  5. September 16, 2011 9:20 am by pierino7 Reply

    I love black cod aka sablefish aka Darth Vader. Cooked properly it’s moist and firm. Also it’s high on the Monterey Bay Aquarium “Seafood Watch” list of “safe” choices. Try it with a romesco some time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *