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Crab salad makes a no-cook supper

(ran SP edition)

Sweet crab meat layered with fresh vegetables and a light vinaigrette dressing makes a cool, colorful salad supper for a hot summer evening. There is no cooking required, so this meal can be assembled in a few minutes.

Cooked crab meat is sold frozen or in cans. Look for jumbo lump or backfin. These names refer to large pieces of white meat from the body of the crab. The meat should be white with a little pink coloring.

If the high cost of crab meat is prohibitive, you can use imitation crab meat. I tested the recipe with the imitation, and it worked very well. In fact, this salad is great for any type of leftover cooked seafood.

The vinaigrette uses sherry wine vinegar. Its subtle flavor is perfect with the crab. Red wine or balsamic vinegar could be substituted.

To make this meal even faster, use a low-fat bottled vinaigrette and add chopped onion and tarragon.

For a quick side dish, you canmake Italian-style crostini using French baguettes.

Layered Crab Salad with Parmesan Crostini contains 453 calories per serving with 34 percent of calories from fat.

Here are helpful hints:

Use canned or frozen crab meat.

Any type of bread can be used for the crostini.

Buy good quality Parmesan cheese and ask the market to grate it for you or chop it in the food processor. Freeze extra for quick use. You can quickly spoon out what you need and leave the rest frozen.

Any type of salad greens can be used.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of five cookbooks including her newest, Vegetarian Dinner in Minutes, published by Chronicle Books, $16.95.

Layered Crab Salad

Dressing:

2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard

4 teaspoons olive oil

4 tablespoons water

4 tablespoons chopped red onion

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon or 2 teaspoons dried tarragon

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Salad:

} pound jumbo lump cooked crab meat

{ bag ready-to-eat mixed baby greens (about 1 cup)

{ medium cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 medium tomato, sliced

Whisk vinegar and mustard together. Add oil and water and whisk again until smooth. Add red onion, tarragon and salt and pepper to taste.

Mix half the dressing with the crab meat. Arrange salad greens in the bottom of a salad bowl. Place a layer of cucumbers on top. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the salad. Spoon the crab meat over the cucumbers. Arrange the sliced tomatoes around the edge of the bowl. Sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 301 calories, 35.1 gm protein, 8.7 gm carbohydrate, 11.9 grams fat, 1.6 grams saturated fat, 36 percent of calories as fat, 0.8 151 mg cholesterol, 821 mg sodium.

Parmesan Crostini

Olive oil spray

{ French baguette, sliced into 6 rounds

2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat broiler or toaster oven. Spray olive oil over bread rounds. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Place in broiler about 6 inches from heat for 1-2 minutes or until cheese starts to melt.

Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 151 calories, 7 gm protein, 18.4 gm carbohydrate, 4.9 gm fat, 2.5 gm saturated fat, 29 percent of calories as fat, 0.6 gm fiber, 8 mg cholesterol, 385 mg sodium.

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