Ask owner Crista Fleming about any dish on the menu at Scarlett Begonia in Santa Barbara, and you’ll get a story. A delicious food story, with characters and influences and reasons for each ingredient, is behind each creation being served at breakfast, lunch or the bakery counter, 7 days a week.
Fleming’s varied background in catering, culinary school, traveling, cooking, and editing a food and lifestyle magazine gives her restaurant a rich background in flavors – and the thoughtful dishes show it. On the menu this winter, “Green Heuvos” was inspired by a trip to Big Sur, where Fleming experienced a new kind of Heuvos Rancheros with grilled shrimp and local garnishes. After collaborating with her culinary team, she decided to make her huevos green, using tomatillos and watermelon radishes from Sunrise Organic Farms in Lompoc, and avocados from AvoGanic in Carpinteria. Santa Barbara’s coastal farms provide ideal growing conditions for these veggies through fall and even into winter. Tomatillos love the area’s warm temperatures, and continue to produce fruit through fall, right up until first frost, which very rarely happens along the coast. Fleming loves the bright, tart flavor of tomatillos, whether in this cooked sauce, or a raw salsa. She balances it with fresh guacamole—made simply with just 5 ingredients: local avocado, onion, tomato, salt, lemon—and a garnish of big, gorgeous watermelon radish slices. It’s almost too pretty to eat.
Fleming is 100% committed to non-GMO produce, sourcing ingredients as local and organic as possible. And with our long growing season here on Santa Barbara’s coastline, her Indian summer-into-Fall inspiration can come from virtually anywhere.
To make Green Huevos, roast tomatillos in the oven until lightly browned, then blend with garlic, onion, water, salt and pepper and set aside. Make guacamole by combining mashed avocado, chopped onion and tomato, salt and lemon juice. Warm a can of organic black beans in a sauce pan with salt and pepper (add garlic, cilantro or any aromatics you like). Next, heat frying oil in a skillet, and lightly fry 2 corn tortillas and set aside. Then sauté shrimp until just pink (1-2 minutes per side), and finally, fry an egg to your liking. To assemble, spread some tomatillo sauce on the plate, then layer the tortillas with beans and sauce. Slide the egg on top and sprinkle queso fresco around the plate. Top with shrimp, fresh guacamole, micro cilantro and big slices of watermelon radish.