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A Return to Cooking -  by Eric Ripert and Michael Ruhlman on Star Chefs

A Return to Cooking
by Eric Ripert and Michael Ruhlman
(Artisan, Nov 2002)
Hardcover, 330 pages

What inspired you to write this book?
Eric Ripert: I wanted to be free to cook without time limits - knowing that I could use all my instincts to be inspired by the landscape and the season.

How do you see your book being used?
Eric Ripert: First as an inspiration paged through at the coffee table or at bedtime. More importantly, in the kitchen because A Return to Cooking is both practical and technical.

What is your favorite food region? Why?
Eric Ripert: Provence - because I grew up there and it is very special, very Mediterranean, and still very unspoiled.

What do you enjoy most about cooking?
Eric Ripert: Cooking is relaxing and rewarding because I get to eat and perhaps share the fruits of my labor.

What did you learn in creating this book?
Eric Ripert: It confirmed to me that I am a very good cook—that I had not lost my creativity. Au contraire, I became more creative. I look forward to doing another book.

Any new projects?
Eric Ripert: Right now we are the consulting on the menu of Geisha. It is fun for me because the food is totally different from Le Bernardin and once more I can express myself in a new way.


A Return to Cooking
by Eric Ripert and Michael Ruhlman
“The more successful you become, the further you are taken from the work that made you a success in the first place, from what it was you most loved doing.” And so Eric Ripert, the chef of Le Bernadin, New York’s Mecca of seafood, takes a sabbatical from his kitchen and embarks on a journey to Puerto Rico, the Napa Valley, the Long Island shore, and the Vermont countryside, to become once more a “cook” for himself and his entourage of friends. The journey allows Ripert to celebrate local and seasonal produce and experiment with techniques, such as fireplace roasting, not available in a restaurant kitchen. Along the way Ripert combines 150 luscious recipes with mini-tutorials on technique. The book is accompanied by reproductions of exuberant paintings by Ripert’s friend, Columbian artist Valentino Cortazar.

Sautéed Turbot with Creamy Jasmine Rice and Coriander Broth
From A Return to Cooking by Eric Ripert and Michael Ruhlman, Artisan 2002
Adapted by StarChefs

Turbot is great for sautéing because it is a big, muscular, flavorful fish. But it’s also lean, so we need a rich element on the plate. What I like about this dish is that it reverses the rich and lean components. Typically the sauce is rich and the garnish is light. Here the sauce is a light but powerfully flavorful broth and the jasmine rice is enriched with the cream.

 Sautéed Turbot with Creamy Jasmine Rice and Coriander Broth from A Return To Cooking by Eric Rupert and Michael RuhlmanYield: 6 Servings


  • 3 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds
  • ½ star anise
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups jasmine rice
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • Six 6-ounce turbot fillets
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Grated zest of 2 lemons (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 2 Tablespoons cilantro julienne


For Sauce:
Place chicken stock in medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add coriander, fennel, star anise, and cayenne pepper and simmer for 20 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper, strain and set aside.

For Jasmine Rice:
Place 2 ¾ cups water in medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, then add rice and lower to a simmer. Cook until underdone, still with a bit of crunch, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

For Turbot:
Place two large nonstick sauté pans over high heat and add 1 Tablespoon of canola oil to each pan. Season turbot on both sides with salt and pepper. When oil is hot, add 3 turbot fillets to each pan. Cook until nicely browned on first side, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn fillets over and cook until done, about another 2 minutes.

While turbot is in last 2 minutes of cooking, combine remaining ¼ cup water and heavy cream in a pan and bring to a simmer. Add reserved rice and stir to incorporate. Adjust seasonings. Add about 2 tablespoons of lemon zest and cilantro and stir to incorporate.

Gently reheat sauce and add remaining lemon zest.

To Serve:
Place about ½ cup rice in center of each of six warm plates. Top each with 1 turbot fillet. Spoon sauce around plates. Serve immediately.