Crab salad with grapefruit, mint, & avocado (+ how to be interesting)

A few years ago, I had an idea in my head of what success and/or interesting-ness meant; and it was perfect everything everywhere. I would have my shit TOGETHER, people. I would not have a hair out of place, I would not make a mistake. I would lock it up and not show emotion. I would be perfect.

Then, I met a woman who would later become a mentor. She was in her sixties, probably, and the second I saw her my insides told me that she would play a significant role in my life. I knew she was stunning before I met her, because google, and because reputation, but her presence left my jaw on the floor. She radiated poise, such shit-together-ness, that she glided with confidence. She gently commanded respect from all who knew her. I knew she worked her butt off, and she was officially my role model.

One day, she casually mentioned that she was on her second marriage, which duh, meant she was divorced. For a second, her perfect ideal shattered in my head. “What?! Divorce? Really? Why? But you’re so perfect. You can’t be divorced.” Admittedly, I was a little judgey about this, and shocked at the revelation.

As our relationship developed, we ended up having several heart to hearts, and she mentioned how the divorce was an excruciating time in her life, how she had little money to support her kid and they couldn’t afford to eat meat, how the general feeling of it all was unbearable. I realized the poise, the beauty, all of it came from rising above destruction. She said “you know, when you go through really shitty things, it sucks, but at least it’ll make you interesting.”

Rob Bell mirrors this sentiment. He says that when he meets someone who is interesting and/or captivating, he KNOWS THEY HAVE SUFFERED. This notion is infinitely interesting in and of itself. For so long, I got mad at myself for making mistakes, for not being “normal”, for being “weird” or “awkward”, having a silly brain, for being the girl that makes weird jokes or has a weird laugh or eats weird or whatever. But people tell me there is something about me. Something special they can’t quite put their finger on. And I now understand, that it is only because I have suffered. From many angles, but partially because I put myself through a lot of self-imposed suffering. Whether it was my fault or not, the bottom line is the suffering was present.

The suffering serves as a chisel to beautify you, to strengthen you, to give you bravery. Each time that I am going through something crappy, I ponder over how it can shape me, how it can be good, how it can make me more beautiful.

I am now uninterested in the perfect, and in a seamless, untarnished life. Bring on the uncertainty, the nitty gritty, the hardships. You should, too. Because it’s one of the only ways you’ll be interesting to others.

As you find this out, make this easy crab salad with citrus, because although it is not conventional (because how retro is crab salad? Usually it makes me yawn, but I’m actually a fan of this one), it is very interesting.

 

Crab salad with grapefruit, mint, and avocado
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Ingredients
  1. 2 grapefruits or 4 oranges (you can also use a combo of 1 grapefruit & 2 oranges)
  2. 2 pounds lump crabmeat, picked through for shells and cartilage
  3. 2 small cucumbers (preferably kirby), peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  4. 2 red or orange bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, cut into 1/4 inch dice
  5. 4 scallions, white and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
  6. 1 small chile pepper, very finely minced
  7. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  9. 1-2 teaspoons tabasco
  10. Juice of 2 lemons
  11. 2 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
  12. 2 avocados, halved, peeled, and cut into a dice of your liking
  13. Sprouts, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Cut the top and bottom off the grapefruit or oranges and let it lay flat in an upright position. Using your knife, and starting at the top, cut away the pith in segments, turning the grapefruit as you go. Cut out the flesh from the membranes, and put them in a small colander to drain as you prep the rest of the vegetables. Squeeze the juice of the membrane that’s left over and reserve, discarding the pith.
  2. Drain the crabmeat well and remember to check for any remaining shells. Into a bowl, place the crab, cucumbers, bell peppers, scallions, and chile.
  3. Cut the grapefruit segments into very small pieces, add them to the bowl, and using a fork (or your fingers), gently toss the ingredients together, but don’t go nuts here. We want the crab to stay together as much as possible.
  4. Add the olive oil, grapefruit juice, tabasco, lemon juice, about 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Taste the salad and decide what you'd like to add. You may need to add a bit more oil or tabasco. Re-season with salt and pepper if you need to as well.
  5. Stir in mint and avocado (or top with the avocado), top with sprouts, and serve immediately.
Notes
  1. Dorie suggests serving this IMMEDIATELY, but I didn't see any issues serving it a few hours later or even enjoying it the next day. If you plan to wait a little before you eat it, do make sure that you add the avocado at the last possible moment.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Ashley Pardo http://ashleypardo.com/
  1. Santiago Pardo

    October 9th, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Hey sweetheart, very inspiring words and also motivating, both from the heart.
    The salad looks delicious, and I am sure it tastes even better, looks very healthy.
    Have a great day
    Love Dad

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