Crab and watermelon salad

Fresh and light, this crab and watermelon salad should be your new go-to as summer weather sets in. Ideal for a light lunch or to hearken the beginning of a smart dinner, this playful salad balances the natural sweetness of crabmeat and watermelon with a bright, slightly salty, slightly acidic dressing. The subtle bitterness of watercress is intelligently countered by the steakiness of heirloom tomatoes. 


While the recipe below firmly feeds four for light entree portions or heavy appetizer portions, it’s very simple to prepare for just one or two. Just use your fractions. 

As a note, I recommend purchasing pre-picked crab meat - it’s usually found in 16 oz containers in the seafood section of the grocery store. Lump crab meat is ideal with this dish, but claw meat is far more cost effective and also compliments the other ingredients with its concentrated saltiness. If you find yourself with extra crab meat, try one of these: squash, corn, and crab fritters or gluten-free crab cakes with roasted summer vegetables.

What you need

8 oz of crab meat, lump or claw, picked

2 cups seedless watermelon, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes

2 large heirloom tomatoes, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes

1 bunch watercress, leaves picked from stems and set aside

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon ponzu

Flakey sea salt, like Maldon, to finish (optional) 

How to do it 

When you purchase the ingredients, chill the tomatoes and watermelon before making the dish, in addition to the crab meat and watercress, which should already be stored in the fridge. This salad needs to be cold when serving.

After slicing the watermelon and tomatoes and picking the watercress leaves,  whisk the extra virgin olive oil and ponzu together until combined in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Place watercress and tomatoes into the bowl and toss until coated with ponzu dressing.

Place 1/4 of the watermelon and crab on each plate. Then divvy up the watercress and tomatoes into fourths on each plate; feel free to pour remaining dressing onto the plates, to taste.

If needed, finish the dishes by sprinkling a pinch of flakey sea salt over the top of the dish.

Serve immediately. 

You can easily store remaining ingredients in the fridge - just make sure you don’t dress the watercress and tomatoes more than 10 minutes ahead of time as it will become wilty and soggy.