MEET THE SOUS CHEF
LUKE BERGMAN, CONSULTING CHEF, VALENTINO, FORT LAUDERDALE
Luke Bergman has gone home. When we last checked in with Bergman, he was the chef de cuisine at Manhattan’s Colicchio & Sons, coming up on a decade spent cooking in New York City. Since then, the chef has decamped to his hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he’s helping an old friend at his restaurant, Valentino.
We asked Bergman to share a spring recipe, and he delivered the most refreshing ode to the season we could have imagined: blanched asparagus covered with grapefruit “snow” made by shaving frozen grapefruit. Whimsical but not gimmicky, it’s a dead-simple recipe with a refreshing twist.
TRACK THIS CHEF
DAY IN THE LIFE
Bergman took a week off when he first arrived in Fort Lauderdale, while waiting for his belongings to arrive. Now the chef is back to the usual, putting in 55-hour weeks at Valentino, a restaurant owned by his friend Giovanni Rocchio. The two met in the kitchen at The Modern in New York City and have reunited for this project in their hometown.
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
Ice Ice Baby
The basic method of freezing segments of grapefruit, then grating them over vegetables or a salad, can be applied to any citrus, including navel or blood oranges, limes and lemons. Bergman imagines pairing blood orange “snow” with roasted, cooled carrots, swapping sesame seeds for the almonds in the recipe; or showering a piece of fish crudo with gratings of frozen lemon and lime.
For this salad, Bergman suggests using medium-thick asparagus spears. Save the thick ones for roasting or grilling, and use pencil-thin asparagus for raw preparations. Instead of snapping the ends off the spears, which results in a lot of wasted asparagus, Bergman simply trims them and then peels the stalks with a vegetable peeler.
Large grapefruit, 1
Sliced almonds, 2 tablespoons
Ice, 2 cups
Medium-thick asparagus spears, 10
Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon
Extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons
Flaky salt, 2 pinches
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a cutting board, place the:
Slice off the two ends of the grapefruit. Stand the grapefruit upright and slice off the rind from top to bottom, exposing the flesh and slicing away the bitter white pith. Hold the grapefruit in your hand or on a cutting board and slice between the membranes to release the segments. Place half of the segments on a small plate or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet so that the segments aren't touching, and freeze until the grapefruit is completely frozen, at least 30 minutes (if freezing longer than 1 hour, cover the grapefruit with plastic wrap before freezing).
2. To a rimmed sheet pan, add the:
- Sliced almonds
Toast the almonds until they are golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a large plate and set aside to cool.
3. To a large bowl, add the:
Cover the ice with cold water. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. On the cutting board, place the:
- Asparagus spears
Use a paring knife to slice away the tough ends. Use a vegetable peeler to peel each spear up to about ½ inch below the base of the tip. Add the peeled asparagus to the boiling water along with the:
- Kosher salt
Cook the asparagus for 20 seconds or until just tender, then use a slotted spoon, frying spider or tongs to transfer the asparagus to the bowl of ice water. Chill the asparagus for 2 minutes, then transfer to a kitchen-towel-lined plate to drain.
4. Place the asparagus on a large plate. Drizzle the asparagus with the:
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Sprinkle with the:
- Toasted sliced almonds
Remove the grapefruit segments from the freezer. Using a box grater or a Microplane-style grater, grate the grapefruit over the asparagus. Serve immediately, sprinkled with the:
- Flaky salt