Curried Crab and Apple Salad with Watermelon and Avocado

Watermelon salads have been on trend for a while now, and they don’t seem to be going out of style any time soon. There’s something so summer about watermelon – I can hardly think of a more refreshing fruit – which makes it the perfect ingredient in a seasonal salad each year when the temperatures rise and we start to crave all things crisp, sweet and juicy. Inspired by a recipe in Food and Wine for Curried Crab and Watermelon Salad with Arugula, I made my own watermelon salad Monday night with curried crab and apple, avocado and, of course, watermelon, over greens. It was simple but felt sophisticated. I served the salad with a lemon zest basil pesto over whole wheat orecchiette, topped with yellow cherry tomatoes for a wonderful summer dinner.

For the salad, I started by heating vegetable oil in a pan with curry powder and chopping a quarter of a granny smith apple into cubes. I cooked the apple in the oil until soft, for about five minutes, and then removed it from the heat and stuck it in the freezer to cool down quickly. Next I cubed watermelon and avocado and tossed that over some greens, which I had seasoned with salt, pepper and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. After about five minutes I removed the cubed apple, which had cooled enough, and tossed it with the crab meat. The crab and apple mixture went over the greens, watermelon and avocado, and an easy, elegant salad was ready.

I’m excited to try the salad again with a few variations. The recipe that inspired the dish included saffron with the curry, and onions with the apples – both additions I didn’t have on hand but would like to try next time. My first go at this curried crab and watermelon salad was a hit and it made a great, light starter to the zesty pesto pasta that followed. And because I always love a little sweet, I finished off the meal by serving ginger frozen yogurt topped with blueberries.

For the recipe and what to cook next

Curried Crab and Apple Salad with Watermelon and Avocado
(Serves 4)

1 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 of a Granny Smith apple, chopped
1 pound jumbo lump crab meat
1 – 1 1/2 cup of cubed watermelon
1 small avocado, cubed
Arugula or other greens
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper

– Heat oil in a pan and sprinkle in curry powder
– After about one minute, add in the apples and cook until soft, about five minutes
– Remove apples from heat and let cool
– Cube watermelon and avocado
– Salt and pepper greens, and drizzle them with vinegar
– Top greens with watermelon and avocado (optional: salt and pepper and drizzle again)
– Mix crab meat with apple mixture, and place on top of salad

Serve as a first course to a summery dinner, like lemon zest and basil pesto orecchiette.

What to do with leftover crab meat? I really want to try a crab fried rice. And what to do with leftover watermelon? Try a watermelon, feta, cucumber salad with mint.