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Renowned chef Eric Ripert on his life and his food

The cover of "Seafood Simple" and author Eric Ripert. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House and Nigel Parry)
The cover of "Seafood Simple" and author Eric Ripert. (Courtesy of Penguin Random House and Nigel Parry)

For more than three decades, iconic New York Chef Eric Ripert‘s Le Bernardin restaurant has dominated the city’s restaurant scene. It’s widely recognized as one of the world’s top seafood eateries.

Born in France, Ripert grew up watching his mother and grandmother cook elegant meals. At 15 he attended culinary boarding school. At 24 he arrived in America to become a sous-chef for the legendary Jean-Louis Palladin in Washington, D.C.

Ripert joins Here & Now host Robin Young to talk about his life, the food industry, his friendships — including with Anthony Bourdain — and his latest cookbook, “Seafood Simple.”

Tips for cooking seafood from Eric Ripert

  1. The best way to test whether fish is ‘done,’ is to insert a thin metal skewer into the fish. Leave the skewer in for 5 seconds, remove it and touch it to your wrist. If the skewer feels “warm” the fish is ready to remove from the oven. Let it rest for 3 or so minutes and serve.
  2. To get the right cook on broiled fish, place under the broiler about 2 inches from the heat source for every 1/2-inch thickness. A piece of fish an inch thick would therefore be placed about 2 inches from the heat. Then cook for 2 minutes for every 1/2 inch of thickness. (Use metal skewer technique, above, to test doneness)

Book excerpt: ‘Seafood Simple’

By Eric Ripert

Halibut with warm herb vinaigrette. (Courtesy)

Halibut with warm herb vinaigrette

Serves 4

Halibut is one of the most delicate of fish, in both flavor and texture, and therefore should be handled gently and with great care—overcooking it completely destroys its natural characteristics. To test its doneness, insert a metal skewer through the flesh of the fish until you meet a slight resistance, and leave it for 5 seconds before removing; the skewer should be barely warm when touched to your wrist. (If it’s hot, the halibut is overcooked, if cold, not cooked enough.)

Wait until the last moment to chop or mince the herbs and add them to the vinaigrette just before plating to preserve their aromas.


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Fine sea salt


  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mixed fresh chives, parsley, tarragon, and chervil (fines herbes)


  • 4 halibut fillets (6 ounces each), skinned
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 12 boiled or steamed jumbo asparagus spears for serving
  • Special Equipment
  • Kitchen thermometer
  • Metal skewer

1. Make the velouté: In a wide, shallow pot, bring 7 cups water to a boil over high heat.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and 1 cup water together until smooth, then whisk the mixture into the boiling water to thicken; it should be the consistency of a milkshake. Add the lemon juice and a generous pinch of sea salt. Reduce the heat to low. The velouté should be hot but not simmering, about 150°F.

3. Make the vinaigrette: Put the sherry vinegar in a bowl and season with a pinch each of sea salt and white pepper, then stir in the mustard. Slowly whisk in the extra-virgin olive oil to emulsify. Chop the herbs and stir them into the vinaigrette. Set aside.

4. Poach the fish: Line a plate or sheet pan with a kitchen towel. Season the halibut fillets with sea salt and white pepper, then place them in the velouté. Cook, turning the fish halfway through, until a metal skewer inserted into the thickest part of the fish for 5 seconds feels warm when touched to your wrist, 8 to 9 minutes.

5. Remove the fillets from the velouté with a slotted spatula to the towel-lined plate or sheet pan. Season lightly with sea salt and white pepper, then transfer the halibut fillets and asparagus to warm plates. Spoon the vinaigrette over and around the fish and serve immediately.

From ‘Seafood Simple’ © 2024 by Eric Ripert. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Random House. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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