Elevating appetizers to entrees

For smaller portion sizes or to skip the calorie-laden sides that come with most entrees, order an appetizer as your main course. One of my favorite New York City restaurants, a Mediterranean fish house in the East 40s, serves an appetizer consisting of a really big (and I mean huge) bowl of maybe 30 steamed mussels in their shells in a low-oil fresh-tomato sauce with one crusty piece of French bread underneath to sop it up with. When I add a glass of cold, dry white wine and one more piece of bread, this appetizer becomes a meal in itself — with a lot fewer calories and less fat than most any entree on the menu. Less expensive, too.

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