Photo: Erik R. Trinidad
Bouillabaisse is a traditional (and inherently fancy-sounding) fish and seafood stew prominent in the Provençal region of southern France, a culinary classic from the seaside city of Marseille. The best bouillabaisse is made with only the freshest seafood, but since we're playing by our own rules and only source ingredients from the realm of fast food, we'll go to the chain that labels their food as such (even if it's inspired by Mexico and not France): Baja Fresh. Using their sea-faring fast food fare, we're going to boil up a "Baja Bouillabaisse" that will not only appease the Fancy Fast Food kitchen's penchant for alliterations, but be candy for the eyes -- and maybe even tantalize a taste bud or two, if you can believe that.
Read on for the "recipe" for Baja Bouillabaisse after the jump...
Ingredients (from Baja Fresh Mexican Grill):
- 1 BFF Fire-grilled Burrito (with langostino lobster)
- 3 MahiMahi Tacos (grilled)
- 3 Original Baja Tacos (with grilled shrimp)
- 1 Chicken Tortilla Soup (without charbroiled chicken)
- 4 condiment cups of pico de gallo
- 1 condiment cup of chopped cilantro
First, pour the chicken tortilla soup into a medium saucepan; this will be the savory stock of our seafood stew, even if it's based on terrestrial poultry. Add tomatoes and onions to this base via the pico de gallo -- but don't throw away the condiment cups just yet since we'll get creative with them later. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer over a low heat.
Next, the main ingredients: the seafood. For fish, we have the strips of grilled mahi-mahi from the tacos; add those to the saucepan and let them stew until they are tender enough to cut into smaller chunks with a mixing spoon. Also add in the grilled shrimp from the other tacos. That leaves just one seafood item left, the shellfish from your BFF ("Big & Full of Flavor") burrito: lobster. Take note that it's not "lobster" but "langostino lobster," that controversial crustacean in the restaurant industry that isn't a part of the true lobster family at all; it's actually more related to hermit crabs. This langostino lobster may be labeled by copywriters as such for its ambiguity (and perhaps its appealing alliteration), but it's all we have to work with. Pick the pieces of "lobster" meat out of the burrito and add it to the saucepan. Cover and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Sally may sell seashells by the seashore, but we'll get by with our Baja Bouillabaisse without her business on the beach. Images of a real bouillabaisse often include the shells of clams or mussels, but we'll improvise with a little creativity and the empty condiment cups. Using a pair of kitchen shears, cut the black condiment cups along the sides to make long oval shapes. When they curl, they will resemble mussel shells -- especially when you cleverly position them in a serving bowl. But first, add them to the saucepan so they get immersed in the stock; this will help prevent them from looking like plastic.
Finally, the plating: use a ladle to transfer the seafood stew into a fancy bowl. Place the mock mussel shells in and around the morsels of fish and seafood, and then garnish the top with the chopped cilantro. Voila! You've just made Baja Bouillabaisse, a fun, fancy, and French-inspired feast formed from fresh fast food!
Erik R. Trinidad -- who is not a trained chef but enjoys recreational cooking -- is the creator of Fancy Fast Food, where fast food goes through an extreme makeover without the use of any additional ingredients (other than an occasional garnish). This is his tenth post for Slashfood. Check out his travel blog at TheGlobalTrip.com, plus more mock recipes and videos at FancyFastFood.com.