Last fall, we had the fun opportunity to showcase an episode of The Inn Crowd at the Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival. The event is an annual event that features the bounty of local seafood harvested by a dedicated cadre of Santa Barbar based fishermen. Out local fishery includes a vast assortment of species, see below.
I decided to use the local black codfish which is sablefish. The codfish is a deep-water species that thrive at depths over 3,000 feet deep. Fishermen layout mile-long lines to harvest the black cod. The fish has a high-fat content and cooks up with large, delicate flakes. I did a Basque-style bell pepper ragout as a foil to the codfish. My assistants, Chris Lesant and Patricia Lamas, assisted in serving some 500 portions to members and friends of the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Meanwhile, thousands of attendees enjoyed the seafood bounty from a variety of vendors.
Wikipedia: "The sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) is one of two members of the fish family Anoplopomatidae and the only species in the Anoplopoma genus. In English, common names for it include sable (USA), butterfish (USA), black cod (USA, UK, Canada), blue cod (UK), bluefish (UK), candlefish (UK), coal cod (UK), coalfish (Canada), beshow, and skil(fish) (Canada), although many of these names also refer to other, unrelated, species. In the USA, the FDA accepts only "sablefish" as the Acceptable Market Name; "black cod" is considered a vernacular (regional) name and should not be used as a Statement of Identity for this species. The sablefish is found in muddy sea beds in the North Pacific at depths of 300 to 2,700 m (980 to 8,860 ft) and is commercially valuable to Japan.
From the Web page CFSB, Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara:
"The Santa Barbara Channel is one of the nation's most productive sources of abundant, sustainable and high-quality seafood. Santa Barbara's harbor has over 100 small-boat fishermen who catch 6-10 million pounds of seafood annually, bringing in $30 million in economic benefit to the local community. Our fishermen bring in wild-caught white sea bass, black cod, ling cod, yellowtail, rockfishes, halibut, swordfish, tuna, king salmon, thresher shark, urchin, crab, shrimp, lobster, whelk, sea cucumber - more than 50species in total!
Santa Barbara is also home to eco-friendly farming of oysters, mussels, and abalone. There is also a fishermen direct market every Saturday morning. A handful of fishermen can participate on the City Pier (opposite Brophy's) every Saturday selling crab, shrimp, rockfish, lingcod, black cod, halibut, urchin, abalone (sustainably farmed), and other catch of the day items - with unbeatable prices and unsurpassed freshness and quality."
One of my signature dishes is the local farm raised abalone from The Cultured Abalone. Dough Bush manages the onshore farm that produces the abalone. The red abalone is the variant that they grow from broodstock. It has proven to be the healthiest and fastest growing variety of the seven varieties that inhabit the Santa Barbara Channel. After about three years they are at the market size of about three inches. They are a unique product raised of local seaweed in a very eco-friendly system. See my previous blogs relating to abalone.
The annual Harbor and Seafood Festival is Santa Barbara’s signature Autumn event. Timed with the opening of lobster season, the festival is presented by the City, Commercial Fishermen of Santa Barbara, Inc., Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants’ Association, and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. Festival-goers will meet local fishermen and enjoy fresh lobster, crab, prawns, and other local-caught seafood. Live entertainment and other family-oriented activities round out a full day of fun. Event admission is free. For more festival information, including vendor lists and directions and parking, contact the Harbormaster’s Office at (805) 897-1961 or visit our website atwww.HarborFestival.org.
Date: Saturday, October 13, 2018
Time: 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Location: Main Harbor, 132-Harbor Way, Santa Barbara, CA 93109
View us on The Inn Crowd Saturdays at 6:30 on ABC affiliate KEY channel 3. Please note that the airtime may vary as late as 9:30 during the football season. You may view the show online at the Santa Barbara News Press. Look to the right side of the web page for a link to the show. YTS Digital Films filmed and directed this show.
Put on your apron, grab your whisk, fire up the oven and get on your bib apron. I'll provide the recipes, and the rest is up to you. See you at the harbor.
Chef Michael Hutchings