Bouillabaisse Burgers with Tomato-Fennel Relish and Saffron Mayonnaise

Accolades 2006 Finalists
Serves Makes 6 burgers


Tomato-Fennel Relish

  • 2/3 cup seeded and finely chopped firm ripe plum or vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fennel
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon garlic-flavored olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

Saffron Mayonnaise

  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup good-quality mayonnaise
  • Pinch kosher salt, or to taste
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper, or to taste


  • 1 3/4 pounds skinless, boneless red snapper fillets (or any other firm-textured white lean fish), coarsely ground (in small batches) in a food processor or chopped into about 1/4-inch pieces by hand
  • 3/4 pound peeled and deveined large raw shrimp, cut into about 1/4-inch pieces
  • 5 egg whites
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 cups panko (Japanese bread crumbs), as needed
  • Colavita All Natural Canola Oil for brushing on the grill rack
  • 12 slices (1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick) French bread, cut from center of 1 loaf or 2 loaves
  • Garlic-flavored olive oil for brushing on both sides of bread slices



To make the relish, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill until needed.

To make the mayonnaise, combine the saffron threads and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside to soak for 20 minutes to l hour.

Transfer the soaked saffron to a blender. Add the mayonnaise and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until serving time.

To make the patties, spread the red snapper and shrimp evenly over the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Wearing kitchen gloves, or using a fork, gently mix in the egg whites, thyme, salt and pepper; combine together well. Mix in enough panko to bind the ingredients together and form into 6 equal patties to fit the slices of bread. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until needed, at least 30 minutes.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

When the grill is ready, generously brush the grill rack with canola oil. Lightly brush both sides of each slice of bread with 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 patties on the middle of the grill rack, cover, and cook for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, turning once with a large spatula, until the patties turn opaque and are just cooked through; do not overcook.

To assemble the burgers, spread about l tablespoon of the mayonnaise evenly over one side of each toast. Place a patty on 6 of the mayonnaise-coated toasts. Using a slotted spoon, evenly top each patty with the tomato-fennel relish. Add the toast tops, mayonnaise side down.

Serve with Sutter Home Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.