In last Sunday's Food section, the recipe for Curried Crab Salad omitted the amount of curry to be used. It should be 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon. CURRIED CRAB SALAD (2 servings) 8 ounces backfin crab meat 1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms 1/4 cup diced green pepper 1 tablespoon lemon juice Freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup plain yogurt 2 teaspoons mayonnaise 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon curry powder 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley 1 tablespoon minced scallion tops 1 medium tomato, cut in wedges 1/2 cucumber, sliced Lemon wedges Remove cartilage from crab meat. Combine seafood, mushrooms, green pepper, lemon juice, pepper, yogurt, mayonnaise, curry powder, parsley and scallion tops. Chill, if possible, 1 hour. Spoon on chilled serving plates and garnish with tomato, cucumber and lemon wedges. Adapted from "Weight Watchers 365-Day Cookbook"

SHELLFISH AND eggs, whipped cream and butter and pate.

Low-cholesterol dieters don't even entertain the thought of eating them. They've been told for too long that these foods will send their cholesterol intake way over the 300-milligram (mg.) daily limit.

While egg yolks remain notorious for their high cholesterol content (250 mg. per yolk), and though whipped cream, butter and pate' are still on the forbidden list, the shellfish story is less clear. For a long time, all shellfish was verboten on a low-cholesterol diet; then shrimp and lobster began to appear as the only culprits. Even the experts seem to contradict each other: A Food and Drug Administration pamphlet claimed that 3 1/2 ounces of lobster has 200 mg. of cholesterol, while an article that appeared in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association said it has 85 mg. and the American Heart Association Cookbook figures it as 62 mg.

Such discrepancies leave cholesterol watchers wondering what the real story is -- whose figures they can trust and what they can eat.

John Weihrauch knows. A research chemist at the Consumer Nutrition Center in Hyattsville, Md., Weihrauch specializes in fatty acids foods. He can explain the contradictory information about seafood that floats through cholesterol-conscious circles, and he can point the way to the most reliable information on cholesterol levels currently available to the layman -- the latest edition of the American Heart Association Cookbook.

The book contains figures that reflect much of the latest research in food composition, says Weihrauch. Twenty years ago, relatively primitive food analyses could only decipher the total sterols (a certain group of fat-like alcohols to which cholesterol belongs) in a certain food, he explains. So, while seafood contains both plant sterols and cholesterol, all the researchers could see were total sterols. Oysters, lobster, crabs and scallops all appeared heavily laden with forbidden cholesterol and were proscribed for special diets.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture included those figures in its 1963 Handbook 8 -- the food composition tables to which virtually everyone turns for nutrient reference. Consequently, cookbook authors and health professionals spent at least a decade guiding low-cholesterol dieters by inaccurate data.

In 1972, a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetics Association, citing new research that could differentiate cholesterol from other sterols, updated the seafood saga.

According to the article, most seafood could be considered legal. Researchers discovered that some shellfish contained no more cholesterol than other fish, and that shellfish in general was not as damaging to a low-cholesterol diet as was once believed. Unfortunately, the news took a while to catch on. Experts and dieters alike are still somewhat confused about the status of seafood and cholesterol.

New food composition tables should be included in updated versions of Handbook 8 and released by the end of the year, predicts Weihrauch, and these should reflect the newest cholesterol information.

Shrimp is still the worst offender in the cholesterol department; lobster comes next. But oysters, listed in Handbook 8 as having 200 mg. of cholesterol per 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces), actually have about 50 mg. (depending on the type of oyster). Scallops, it has been found, hover around 50 mg. In fact, many of the new shellfish figures compare favorably with regular fish -- a food highly recommended for the low-cholesterol diet.

Cholesterol research is further complicated by the levels of cholesterol that vary within individual species. Much like humans, animals differ in their cholesterol levels from one animal to another within the species, so that one Maine lobster may have a higher cholesterol count than another. But specialists at the American Heart Association say that cholesterol is only part of the total fat picture. Dieters should be more concerned with saturated fats than with cholesterol, and seafood of any kind contains very little saturated fat.

Red meat, whole milk, ice cream, most cheese, hot dogs, butter and lard contain relatively high amounts of saturated fat. Dairy substitutes -- non-dairy creamer and whipped topping -- and many convenience foods contain palm and coconut oils, which are highly saturated.

The American Heart Association, in its usual posture of moderation, suggests that low-cholesterol dieters limit themselves to three or four ounces of seafood -- or any meat -- per serving, and that shrimp and lobster be consumed in moderation.

For those who want to know more about cholesterol and food, the Food and Drug Administration distributes a free publication entitled "Cholesterol, Fat and Your Health." For a copy, write Consumer Information Center, Dept. 525K, Pueblo, Colorado 81009.

SAUTEED SCALLOPS (4 to 5 servings) 2 large red or green peppers 1-pound can Italian plum tomatoes 1 1/4 pounds scallops Salt and freshly ground black pepper Flour for dredging 4 tablespoons margarine 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots 4 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley 3 large cloves garlic, finely minced 2 1/2 cups hot, cooked rice

Char peppers over gas flame or under broiler. When skins have blackened, place in a paper bag, close it tightly and set the peppers aside to cool. Drain tomatoes of excess liquid. Slice them and set them in a colander to drain. Season the scallops with salt and pepper and dredge lightly in flour, shaking off the excess. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of margarine with the oil. Add scallops and saute' over high heat until they are browned on both sides. Transfer to a dish and reserve. Remove peppers from bag, peel and remove seeds from the insides. Slice into strips and set aside. Melt remaining margarine over medium heat in original skillet. Add shallots and cook until they are light brown. Add tomatoes, peppers, 2 tablespoons parsley and garlic. Cook 2 or 3 minutes so that mixture is fairly thick. Add scallops and heat through, about 3 minutes. Pile scallops on a large serving plate and surround with hot, cooked rice. Adapted from "From Market to Kitchen," by Perla Meyers s.

CURRIED CRAB SALAD (2 servings) 8 ounces backfin crab meat 1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms 1/4 cup diced green pepper 1 tablespoon lemon juice Freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup plain yogurt 2 teaspoons mayonnaise 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley 1 tablespoon minced scallion tops 1 medium tomato, cut in wedges 1/2 cucumber, sliced Lemon wedges

Remove cartilage from crab meat. Combine seafood, mushrooms, green pepper, lemon juice, pepper, yogurt, mayonnaise, parsley and scallion tops. Chill, if possible, 1 hour. Spoon on chilled serving plates and garnish with tomato, cucumber and lemon wedges. Adapted from "Weight Watchers 365-Day Cookbook"