MEET THE SOUS CHEF
LUKE BERGMAN, CHEF DE CUISINE, COLICCHIO & SONS
Luke Bergman may be the first American chef to ever win the coveted Trophée Passion, a prestigious cooking competition that relies on speed, skill and a working knowledge of classical French food.
But when it comes to everyday food, the chef de cuisine at Colicchio & Sons in New York City prefers simpler, lighter dishes, swapping olive oil for butter and using fresh herbs and citrus zest. His impressive-looking yet easy-to-execute whole roasted snapper cooks in only 15 minutes and is a great entry point for cooks who haven’t cooked a whole fish before.
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DAY IN THE LIFE
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"I spend so much money to live in New York," says Bergman, who shares an apartment with his wife on Manhattan's Upper West Side, "but I'm almost never there to enjoy it." Days off, rare and precious, are spent at home or in his neighborhood, where he frequents the local greengrocer and butcher shop before making dinner at home.
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
Fearful of Fish
For those newbies nervous about cooking a whole fish, Bergman’s method is genius. He super-heats a cast-iron pan, then adds the fish and pops the pan under the broiler. The fish cooks on both sides but never needs to be flipped. Bergman favors snapper, but you could also use whole branzino or grouper.
A Supreme Idea
Sure, we’ve all used lime juice and zest in our cooking. But Bergman takes it one step further by adding the flesh of the lime to his red-pepper tapenade. The sweet-tart condiment is the perfect complement to the delicate fish.
Roasted red peppers, ½ cup (finely chopped)
Fennel fronds or chervil, 2 finely chopped tablespoons
Castelvetrano olives, 5 (pitted and finely chopped)
Limes, 1 (zested, rind sliced off and discarded, fruit divided into segments and then chopped)
Flat-leaf parsley, 1 finely chopped teaspoon
Extra-virgin olive oil, 6 tablespoons
Whole red snapper, one 2-pound fish, (scaled and gutted; not filleted) rinsed and patted dry
1. In a medium bowl, stir together the:
- Chopped roasted peppers
- Chopped fennel fronds
- Chopped olives
- Chopped lime and zest
- Chopped parsley
- 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Taste and season with:
- Kosher salt
2. On a cutting board, set the:
- Red snapper
Use a chef’s knife to make 3 or 4 (depending on how long the fish is) diagonal slashes along each side of the fish. Season both sides with:
- Kosher salt
3. Adjust an oven rack to the upper-middle position and preheat the broiler to high. Heat a grill pan over high heat until it starts to smoke, about 2 minutes. Add the:
- Remaining 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Set the snapper in the pan and immediately transfer the grill pan to the broiler. Broil the snapper until it is firm to the touch and the flesh is opaque all the way to the bone, 7 to 9 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and use a fish spatula to transfer the fish to a platter. Spoon the tapenade over the top and serve.