Soon after, Brown and Harkins started Bouillababes, a pop-up restaurant and catering business. Each week, the chefs set up in Corporate Brew & Draft (2561 Citiplace Court, Suite 300), serving up sandwiches and sides. Outside of the pop-up, the duo has catered weddings and events.
The buzz builds each week, and it's showing no signs of stopping. Together, Brown and Harkins are redefining what it means to be a modern caterer and pop-up in Baton Rouge.
For this week's Let's Dish, the chefs showed us how they do what they do, or more specifically how they combine southern style and global flavors. Here's how they make one of their favorite dishes, a twist on shrimp and grits.
Bouillababes' green curry shrimp with coconut corn grits
Prep: Before any cooking, Brown and Harkins marinate shrimp for 30 minutes in a mixture of green curry paste, olive oil, garlic, Worcestershire and water.
Step 1: Brown cuts Spam into long, thin pieces and lightly fries them in a pan for a savory, crispy garnish. Harkins butters crostinis to go with the dish.
Step 2: Brown brings coconut milk and stock to a simmer in a medium sauce pan, then whisks in grits.
Step 3: As the grits are cooking, Harkins sautées a combination of minced shallot and garlic in melted butter in a frying pan. Brown puts the buttered crostinis into the oven.
Step 4: Once the shallots and garlic have become semi-translucent and fragrant, Harkins adds the shrimp to the pan. Brown plates the grits.
Step 5: Once the shrimp have cooked on each side for about two minutes, they are removed from the pan and plated over the grits.
Step 6: Harkins then deglazes the pan with a combination of stock and Worcestershire sauce, then swirls in chopped green onions, reducing the sauce by about half. The sauce is poured over the shrimp and grits, then garnished with the Spam and crostinis.
HOW YOU CAN TRY BOUILLABABES?
Bouillababes is a pop-up restaurant and catering service. The chefs serve a selection of sandwiches inside Corporate Brew & Draft, starting at 6 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The duo also occasionally prepares food at art hops and special events.
To see what the chefs are cooking when and where, follow the duo at facebook.com/bouillababes or call (225) 205-7641.
WHAT TO GET FROM BOUILLABABES
The Heidi ($8) — The chefs tackle grilled cheese in the best way possible with this sandwich. Havarti Swiss and white cheddar melt together with Vidalia onion jam and a garlic confit basil aioli on rye bread. Add meat ($3) and you have one of the best sandwiches to come out of Baton Rouge.
The Marigold ($9) — Looking to go a vegetarian route? Try this one, with a rosemary grilled blend of veggies, toasted pepitas, garlic confit and basil aioli on toasted naan.
The Mariska ($10) — You think you've had a Reuben, then Bouillababes hits you with their take, which features corned beef, sauerkraut, Uncle T pickles and IPA Thousand Island dressing. It's another sandwich that will have you yelling, "Good lord." It's that delicious.
All sandwiches come with a daily side, and Harkins and Brown don't mess around on those either. Last time I visited, they served couscous that I could've easily eaten a bowl of by itself.
— Matthew Sigur contributed to this report.