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New ways to fix old favorites helps keep them on our tables


A good deal of the American idea of eating well revolves around simple, delicious dishes of the sort featured here. But many American culinary classics date to times when the amount of fat in a dish was of no concern. Today, it is a concern, but simple techniques and savvy use of ingredients eliminate the problem.

Crab Cakes

Serves 6

1 pound fresh lump crab meat (2 cups), picked over and patted dry

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 large egg white, lightly beaten with a fork

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 scallion, trimmed and finely chopped

1/3 cup finely diced red or green bell pepper

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs

1 teaspoon vegetable oil, preferably canola oil

lemon wedges for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together crab meat, fresh bread crumbs, mayonnaise, egg white, lemon juice, scallions, bell peppers, parsley, Old Bay seasoning, pepper and Tabasco.

Put dry bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Form crab mixture into six 1/2 -inch-thick patties. (The mixture will be very soft.) Dredge patties in bread crumbs, reshaping as necessary.

Brush oil evenly over bottom of a heavy, oven-proof skillet. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. Add crab cakes and cook until undersides are golden, about 1 minute. Carefully turn crab cakes and transfer skillet to the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until heated through. Serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: 168 calories; 13g protein; 5g fat; 17g carbohydrate; 827mg sodium; 31mg cholesterol

Creamy Potato Salad

Serves 8

3 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt

1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2/3 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped scallions

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water; add salt and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Drain potatoes and place in a large bowl. Toss with vinegar and season with pepper. Let cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise and mustard. Add to potatoes, along with celery, scallions, parsley and dill, stirring gently to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.

Per serving: 179 calories; 4g protein; 2g fat; 37g carbohydrate; 565mg sodium; 3mg cholesterol.

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