Recipe: Cauliflower Salad with Brown Butter and Grapefruit

by Nancy Zaffaro
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cauliflower salad

I first met Chef Joey Gibson and his wife and partner, Sommelier Stacey Gibson, at a pop-up dinner hosted at Teutonic Wine Company in SE Portland. (Read more about that dinner here.) The meal was fabulous, and included this recipe for a decadent cauliflower salad/side dish. Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables out there. This version includes roasted colored cauliflower and romanesco, a cauliflower puree that adds wonderful texture and browned butter with the unlikely addition of a grapefruit and a milk crumble garnish.

I love trying new cooking techniques, and my guess is that this recipe will introduce many of us to the technique of making a milk crumble. It uses only one ingredient; a quart of heavy cream and involves cooking it down until the solids become a gorgeous dark brown. Looking at the plated salad put before us, I first thought it was a breadcrumb topping. But on first bite, the creaminess was unmistakably decadent and added to the dish considerably.  My creative, artistic side brainstormed other uses for this milk crumble, while my work-a-day, practical self knew this wasn’t something I had the time to do everyday. As for the rest of this dish, it comes together quickly and the flavors combine beautifully for a delicious side dish or entree salad.

While I highly recommend using the multi-colored colored cauliflower and romanesco stated in Parallel’s recipe, if you can’t find it, substitute white cauliflower.

Do try this; pour a glass of wine, and enjoy the process.

Cauliflower salad

Chef Joey Gibson of Parallel Food Drink at work. (Photo courtesy Mark Kronquist.)

Thank you, Chef Joey Gibson!

-Recipe courtesy Joey Gibson, Parallel Food and Drink.

Cauliflower Salad


  • 1 lb mixed colored cauliflower, cut out the core and cut into large pieces
  • 1 lb romanesco, cut out the core and cut into large pieces
  • To coat extra virgin olive oil
  • TT (to taste) salt
  • TT Pepper

To Prepare:

  1. Add all the cauliflower and romanesco into a large bowl.
  2. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Lie out on a sheet pan but make sure they are not overcrowded.
  4. Put into a 400F oven for 10-15 min until browned but not mushy and overcooked.

Cauliflower Puree


  • 1 medium-sized head of white cauliflower
  • 4 Tbs of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • TT Salt
  • TT Pepper
  • ¼ of nutmeg, grated

To Prepare:

  1. Melt the butter in a pot. Cook at a medium-low setting so that it browns;  make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan and stir so that it browns evenly.
  2. When it starts to turn a golden brown color, add the cauliflower and stir to coat in the butter.
  3. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  4. Add milk and let simmer until cauliflower is very tender. If the milk dries up, add more water to ensure the cauliflower cooks until it is tender.
  5. Add the cooked cauliflower to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Check the seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Milk Crumble


  • 1 qt heavy cream (40% fat if you can get it)

To Prepare:

  1. Cook the cream on a medium-low setting while checking it and stirring it. Make sure the pot you use has extra room because the cream will rise. Continue to stir especially when it gets thick because the solids will stick to the bottom of the pan. Eventually it will break. Keep stirring and cooking until the solids become golden brown.
  2. Strain the solids through a fine mesh strainer. Pour the solids out onto a sheet pan with multiple layers of towels or paper towels and remove as much of the excess fat as you can.
  3. If you have time, feel free and put it in the oven on a low setting to help dry out the solids. Reserve the excess fat for a later use.



  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1 bunch tarragon, picked and left whole

To Prepare:

  1. Cut off the rind of the grapefruit and cut out the segments.
  2. Squeeze the excess juice into the container of the segmented grapefruit and reserve.


  1. Add the roasted cauliflower and romanesco to a bowl. Season these with some of the excess fat from the milk crumble and some of the juice from the grapefruit.
  2. Spread a nice layer of the puree onto a platter.
  3. Pile the roasted cauliflower and romanesco over the puree.
  4. Crumble some of the milk crumb on top.
  5. Garnish with the grapefruit and tarragon.
  6. Enjoy!


Stacey Gibson plates Cauliflower, Brown Butter, and Grapefruit Salad for guests at Teutonic Wine company. (Photos courtesy Mark Kronquist.)

Joey and Stacey Gibson accept kudos for Winter Feast. (Photo Nancy Zaffaro.)

For More:

– Cover photo by Nancy Zaffaro.

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