Bruleed Grapefruit Salmon with Cauliflower-Cilantro Puree

Bruleed Grapefruit Salmon with Cauliflower-Cilantro Puree

Health-Supportive Culinary Arts student Julianna Abdallah wins our market basket challenge.

Photos by Julianna Abdallah, Prep Creative

Each week our campuses are closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak mandates in New York City and Los Angeles, we're hosting a voluntary virtual market basket challenge on Instagram. Director of Culinary Research and Development Barry Tonkinson shares an ingredient list on Monday, and ICE students and alumni share their original dishes with photos and videos by Friday.

This week, a Health-Supportive Culinary Arts student at our New York campus and the founder of Prep Creative, Julianna Abdallah, submitted a bright and balanced seafood dish and shared her creative process:

When I first saw the list of ingredients, I was immediately inspired by the salmon and grapefruit. I wanted to create an intriguing mashup between an elegant, roasted salmon and a brûléed grapefruit.

Given the timing of this market basket challenge, I also wanted to ensure that this dish was simple. Since some of my friends and family members are being forced to get reacquainted with their kitchens while sheltering in place, I knew they’d appreciate a fool-proof recipe. My goal was to develop a restaurant-quality dish that was not only nutrient-rich and uniquely flavorful, but also something my most culinarily challenged friends could impress themselves with.

Since I’m back in Austin, I was able to find local Texas ruby red grapefruit that added the perfect amount of tartness to the rich, wild-caught salmon. I also incorporated lemon (my ingredient of choice) to bring in some additional brightness. The salmon is slow-roasted with the citrus, which results in the most velvety, melt-in-your-mouth filet that is nearly impossible to overcook. Brûléeing the grapefruit at the end added a satisfying crunch and rounded out the flavors with a bit of sweetness.

When I spotted a gorgeous head of green cauliflower while dodging the toilet paper hoarders, I immediately imagined a cauliflower-cilantro purée to complement the salmon and tie all of the flavors together. This vibrant purée elevates the dish with an element of complexity and dairy-free creaminess, while still feeling light and clean.

Overall, this dish was a hit at my family dinner table (the PDR in Café Quarantine as I’m calling it), and I hope it brings some joy to your kitchen as well. After all, the omega-3s and vitamin B12 in salmon are known to help boost your mood. Oh, and I should mention, a glass of well-chilled, unoaked chardonnay takes this dish to the next level.


Bruleed grapefruit salmon with cauliflower-cilantro pureeBruleed Grapefruit Salmon with Cauliflower-Cilantro Puree

Yields 5 servings


For the salmon:

  • 1 (1 1/4-pound) wild salmon fillet
  • Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 1-2 teaspoons organic honey (or granulated sugar)

For the cauliflower-cilantro purée:

  • 1 head green cauliflower (or white or purple cauliflower), cut into florets
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 cups fresh cilantro
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  2. Place salmon in a large baking dish, pat dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place grapefruit and lemon slices over the top and around the salmon.
  4. Drizzle salmon and citrus with olive oil and sprinkle with chopped scallion.
  5. Bake 25-30 minutes or until salmon just begins to turn opaque.
  6. In the meantime, set a steamer basket in a large saucepan with a lid. Fill with enough water to come just below basket; bring to a boil. Add cauliflower florets. Lower heat to a simmer and cover. Cook until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.
  7. In a food processor or Vitamix, combine steamed cauliflower, broth, cilantro, scallions, olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Remove salmon from the oven and drizzle honey or sprinkle sugar over the grapefruit slices. Using a torch, melt the sugar to caramelize and form a crispy top. Alternatively, place fish under a preheated broiler and broil until sugar melts and caramelizes, about 3 minutes.
  9. To serve, slice salmon into 5 pieces. Place 1/3 cup cauliflower-cilantro puree on a plate, and top with one piece of salmon. Garnish with flaky sea salt, as desired.

Follow @iceculinary for more market basket challenges, and explore our Health-Supportive Culinary Arts program.

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