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Stretching crab elegantly.

TIS THE SEASON TO enjoy one of the West Coast's special delicacies--Dungeness crab. But even at its peak time, shelled cooked crab can be costly for entertaining. These two elegant entrees stretch a small amount of crab among several guests.

Crab with

Emerald Sauce

1/2 pound fresh basil, rinsed (or 6 oz. spinach and 1/4 cup dried basil) 1/4 pound fresh cilantro (coriander), rinsed 8 ounces dry angel har pasta 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or 1/4 cup rice vinegar mixed with 1 teaspoon sugar) 1 tablespoon Oriental sesame oil 1 tablespoon minced lemon peel 3/4 cup regular-strength chicken broth 2 tablespoons salad oil 1/3 to 1/2 pound shelled cooked crab, rinsed and drained

Reserved 4 of the prettiest basil or cilantro sprigs for garnish; cover and chill.

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat. Gather half the remaining fresh basil or spinach into a bunch. Holding with tongs by stem ends, dip leaves into boiling water just until they turn bright green, about 3 seconds. At once plunge basil into ice water. Repeat with remaining basil and cilantro.

Add pasta to water and cook until tender but still firm to bite, about 3 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water, then drain well. Place pasta in a bowl. Add vinegar, sesame oil, and peel; mix well.

Drain basil and cilantro; blot dry. Cut leaves from stems; discard stems. Place leaves in a blender or food processor with dried basil (if spinach is used), broth, and oil; whirl until very smooth.

Divide sauce among 4 wide, rimmed plates; spread it out to rim. Mound 1/4 of the pasta and crab on each plate. Garnish with reserved sprigs. Serves 4.

Per serving: 378 cal.; 18 g protein; 13 g fat (2 g. sat.); 49 g carbo.; 164 mg sodium; 37 mg chol.

Crab Lasagne with

Roasted Fennel

2 1/4 pounds (about 2 large heads) fennel, ends trimmed 2 large (about 1 lb. total) onions, thinly sliced 3/4 pound mushrooms, sliced 2 cups regular-strength chicken broth 8 ounces dry lasagne noodles 2 cups low-fat milk 1/4 cup dry sherry 1/4 cup cornstarch mixed with 1/3 cup water 1/2 pound (about 2 cups) shredded fontina cheese 3/4 to 1 pound cooked shelled crab, rinsed and drained

Thinly slice fennel crosswise; reserve feathery tops. In a 12- by 14-inch roasting pan, mix fennel, onions, and mushrooms. Roast, uncovered, in a 475[degrees] oven, stirring occasionally, until browned bits form on pan bottom, about 45 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup broth, stir to scrape brwned bits free, and continue roasting until browned bits again form in pan, about 20 minutes. Repeat process once more until vegetables are well browned. Add 1/2 cup broth and stir to loosen browned bits; keep warm. (Or, if made ahead, cool, cover, and chill up until next day. Reheat, uncovered, in a 400[degrees] oven until vegetables are hot, 5 to 10 minutes.)

Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a 5- to 6-quart pan over high heat. During vegetables' last 10 minutes of roasting, add noodles to water and cook until just tender to bite, about 10 minutes. Drain well; blot dry.

Mince 1/4 cup reserved fennel tops; save remaining for garnish or discard. In a 10- to 12-inch pan, combine minced fennel, 1/2 cup broth, milk, and sherry. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add cornstarch mixture; stir until sauce boils. Remove from heat; add half the cheese; stir until smooth; keep hot.

Cover bottom of a 9-by 13-inch baking dish with 1/3 of noodles. Spread with vegetables and 1/2 of sauce. Cover with 1/3 of noodles, top with all the crab and all but 1/2 cup sauce; cover with remaining noodles. Top with rest of sauce and cheese.

Bake in a 450[degrees] oven until bubbling, about 10 minutes. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat until cheese is browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with fennel. tops. Serves 6 to 8.

Per serving: 364 cal.; 25 g protein; 11 g fat (6 g sat.); 38 g carbo.; 487 mg sodium; 78 mg chol.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Dec 1, 1991
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