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LOW-FAT COOKING/DONNA DEANE

Spicy Crab Nibbles

July 22, 1998

Crab meat is wonderful in party appetizers. The problem is that so many crab hors d'oeuvres depend on butter or mayonnaise and high-fat puff pastry or crackers.

Daikon slices are the base for these wasabi-spiked crab appetizers, and just a little low-fat mayonnaise is used to bind the meat.

You can get precooked crab meat at most markets, but fresh crab meat is even better. Whole Dungeness crab, for instance, can be purchased live or already steamed in fish shops and Asian markets. A typical crab yields about 1 cup of crab meat out of the shell.

Fresh daikon, the long white root vegetable that varies from six inches to a foot in length, is available in Asian markets and most supermarkets. Select those that are firm to the touch. To store, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Save any leftover daikon to nibble on as a healthful snack.

Pick up wasabi, the Japanese version of horseradish, and pickled ginger in Asian markets or in the sushi section of your supermarket. Wasabi comes both in a paste and powdered. If you purchase it dry, you'll need to add enough water to make a paste.

*

WASABI CRAB MEAT APPETIZERS

1 cup cooked crab meat from 1 (1 1/2-pound) whole crab

3 tablespoons minced celery

1 tablespoon minced green onion

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 teaspoons crushed pickled ginger with juice plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon wasabi paste plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon lime juice

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Salt

1 fresh daikon

Toasted sesame seeds

Cilantro

Stir together crab meat, celery and green onion.

Stir together mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons pickled ginger, 1 teaspoon wasabi, lime juice and sesame oil. Stir in crab meat mixture and season to taste with salt. Chill until ready to assemble.

Peel daikon and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Divide chilled crab meat mixture on top of each daikon round. Garnish with small piece pickled ginger, dab of wasabi, cilantro and light sprinkling of sesame seeds.

2 dozen appetizers. Each appetizer:

17 calories; 46 mg sodium; 4 mg cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 0 carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.02 gram fiber.

* Serving platter from Bristol Kitchens, South Pasadena.

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