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Bouillabaisse Burgers With Tomato-Fennel Relish & Saffron Mayonnaise

This recipe focuses on several key ingredients that would be included in a traditional bouillabaisse.

Ingredients 

For Tomato-Fennel Relish:
(1) 2/3 cup seeded, finely chopped firm ripe plum or vine-ripened tomatoes
(2) 1/3 cup trimmed, cored, finely chopped (small) fennel bulb
(3) 3 tablespoons peeled, finely chopped sweet onion
(4) 1 lemon, grated to yield 1/2teaspoon lemon zest, squeezed to equal 2 tablespoons of juice, strained, DIVIDED, (1 tablespoon needed for relish, and 1 tablespoon reserved for soaking saffron)
(5) 3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
(6) 1 tablespoon bottled garlic flavored olive oil
(7) 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
(8) 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste For Soaking Saffron
Saffron Mayonnaise:
(9) 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon reserved fresh, strained lemon juice 
Bouillabaisse Burgers:
(10) 1&3/4 pounds skinless, boneless red snapper fillets (or any other firm- textured white lean fish) coarsely ground (in small batches) in food processor, or chopped into about 1/4-inch pieces by hand
(11) 3/4 pound peeled, deveined, large raw shrimp, cut into about 1/4-inch pieces
(12) 5 egg whites
1&1/4 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
(13) 1&1/4 to 1&1/3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
(14) 3/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise
Pinch kosher salt, or to taste
Pinch freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Additional Ingredients:
Colavita All Natural Canola Oil, for brushing on the grill rack
(15) 12 approximately 1/2 to 3/4-inch- thick slices French bread, cut from center of 1 loaf,(or 2 loaves, if necessary)
(16) Garlic flavored olive oil for brushing both sides of bread slices

Instructions 

Prepare tomato-fennel relish; combine tomatoes, fennel, sweet onion, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, thyme, garlic flavored olive oil, salt and pepper to taste together in a small bowl. Cover, and chill until needed. In a small bowl, soak saffron threads in the reserved 1 tablespoon lemon juice for a minimum of 20 minutes, or up to l hour. To make the bouillabaisse patties, spread red snapper and shrimp evenly over bottom of a large glass baking dish. Wearing kitchen gloves, or using a fork, gently mix in egg whites, thyme, salt and pepper to taste; combine together well. Mix in enough panko to bind ingredients together, and form into 6 equal portions to fit the slices of bread. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill until needed, at least 30 minutes. Prepare saffron mayonnaise by com- bining soaked saffron threads and lemon liquid with the mayonnaise in a covered blender until smooth; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap; chill until serving time. Preheat a gas grill to medium-high. When the grill is ready, generously brush the grill rack with canola oil. Meanwhile, lightly brush both sides of each slice of bread with garlic flavored olive oil. Place the bread slices on the outer edges of the grill rack to toast lightly, turning once with tongs; set aside. Place the bouillabaisse patties on the middle of the grill rack; cover, and cook for about 3-1/2 to 4 minutes, turning once with large spatula, until the patties turn opaque and just cooked through. Do not overcook. To assemble the burgers, spread about l tablespoon saffron mayonnaise evenly over one side of each toast. In order, layer mayonnaise coated side of 6 toasts with a burger. Using a slotted spoon, evenly top each burger with the tomato-fennel relish, then toast tops, mayonnaise side down. Makes 6 burgers.

Comments 

Because of the restrictions of 16 ingredients, it was necessary to highlight only those ingredients that would be prominent and offer the most distinctive flavors of the bouillabaisse. A traditional bowl of bouillabaisse would basically include at least two or more of a mixed variety of firm-textured fresh white fish, however, the essence of this recipe is still preserved. (If desired, substitute 3/4 of a pound of skinned, boned monkfish, turbot, cod, grouper, striped bass or your choice of firm-textured, non-oily white fish to replace the shrimp in this recipe) Wine Suggestion: Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay While preparing the recipe, sample a glass or two of each wine to determine which would better complement this dish. If in doubt, try a few more glasses of each. After that, you really won't care anyway!