Got an intense craving for some seafood appetizers this summer? From shrimp toast to smoked salmon, we’ve got everything for you.
Check out our collection of seafood appetizers that will satisfy your cravings and even get your friends and family addicted to it (in a good way of course!).
The word shrimp probably brings up images of fish that have been dipped in batter and fried. When it comes to shrimp, the possibilities are endless. And there are many different kinds of shrimp and some are even sweet enough to eat raw.
Traditional boiled shrimp usually includes garlic, lemon juice, and a dry white wine for sauce; try dipping them in cocktail sauce or spicy mayo instead for something with more flavor.
The Most Popular Shrimp Appetizers Are :
- Shrimp Cocktail – Large shrimp served chilled with horseradish and cocktail sauce.
- Shrimp Toast – A slice of French bread stuffed with garlic-flavored cream cheese and topped with shrimp.
- Shrimp Enchiladas – Shrimp in a spicy red sauce wrapped up in tortillas and topped with cheese.
- Seafood Platter – A combination of cooked shrimp, oysters, crab cakes, fish, and lobster all spread out on the plate to make it look like more than there is.
- Fried Shrimp – Breaded shrimp that has been fried until golden brown. Served often as part of appetizer menus or sold as the main entrée at restaurants.
- Jerk Shrimp – Another great dish is served on most restaurant menus around the world where spices are mixed in with the shrimp and poured over a bed of rice.
- A fun idea: Stuff small cocktail shrimp into a whole avocado half for a stunning appetizer
Prawns are little crustaceans that are similar to shrimp. They have meaty white flesh and a pink-orange color. They are also commonly called shrimp in some countries and regions, though they are not actually related to the shrimp family (Caridea) at all, instead belong to their own subfamily Dendrobranchiinae.
Prawns are definitely one of the most popular seafood appetizers, so if you love seafood or simply have a thing for shrimp, make sure to try these delicious prawns appetizers out!
Prawns go great with lemon flavors and butter sauces, so mix up your seafood appetizers menu by including some prawns, just make sure you don’t overdo it: an average size prawn is about the equivalent of half a dozen medium shrimp.
The Most Popular Prawns Appetizers Are:
- Prawns In Garlic Butter Sauce – Lightly cooked prawns in chopped garlic and served with fresh parsley.
- Grilled Lime Prawns – Fresh prawns seasoned with salt & pepper and grilled on each side. Then topped with fresh lime juice to add a tangy flavor.
- Grilled prawn salad – Grilled prawns tossed in french dressing with lime and lettuce. Served with grated cheese or boiled egg on top.
- Buffalo Wings Style Prawns – Cooked prawns tossed in a mixture of garlic, butter, and Frank’s RedHot sauce. Sprinkled with some paprika, and served with blue cheese and celery sticks on the side.
Crabs are one of the most favored shellfish used as appetizers or snacks. They are commonly called blue crabs and red crabs, both of which have very distinct taste characteristics from each other.
You can treat yourself to a real culinary experience by serving them at your next party! One popular way you can prepare your crabs is by deep frying them with bread crumbs.
Crabs are normally served as appetizers while the bread is served with them. With this method, you can have a unique seafood snack that will surely be well received by your guests at any social event like a wedding or reception.
On the other hand, if you want something more conventional use boiled crabs for your appetizers!
The Most Popular Crab Appetizers Are:
- Crab Claws – These are served with cocktail sauce and eaten with bare hands and fingers.
- Crab Benedicts – Crabmeat is used in place of the traditional Canadian bacon, and it’s served on top of a buttered English muffin with two poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce.
- Crab Cakes – These are usually served at high-end restaurants and are made of a mixture of crabmeat, bread crumbs, eggs, and spices. They’re served along with tartar sauce.
- Crab Ravioli – This is a dish made with portions of ravioli filled with crab meat and the usual sauce served on top of them.
- Crab Fritters – Served usually at bars or pubs, made of crab meat (or other seafood) and deep-fried until golden brown.
Clams are part of the bivalve family, along with oysters and mussels; like other mollusks, their bodies are made up of two hinged shells that stay closed until you cook them.
Clams are found worldwide in both saltwater and freshwater habitats, including rivers, estuaries, bays, and along beaches. Don’t let their simple appearance fool you, clams pack a wallop of flavor.
The Most Popular Clams Appetizers Are:
- Clam Pots – These are served with a creamy sauce or tomato-based broth that’s traditionally made by simmering milk, butter, clams, wine, and cream.
- Baked Clams – Are served in the shell topped with breadcrumbs and cheese; usually finished off under the broiler.
- Steamed Clams – These can be opened to add other ingredients like bacon pieces or steamers (mini surf clams).
- Clam Chowder – This is a dish that contains creamy broth, potatoes, and onions; topped with bits of bacon.
- Clam Rangoons – Are cream cheese clams wrapped in wonton skin and fried; served with plum sauce.
- Clam Pizza – Fresh clam strips are put on top of your pizza for an additional flavor kick; as they cook they release their juices into the pizza.
Mussels are closely related to clams but have a more delicate look than the hard shells characteristic of their cousins. Like other bivalves, mussels can be eaten raw or cooked (and they’re edible once they’re dead: if you accidentally pull up live ones, just throw them back in before they die).
Fresh mussels should be closed tight when bought and should close when tapped on the countertop. When buying frozen mussels, make sure there’s no ice left inside; this means they’re old and may not be safe to eat.
Clams, mussels, and oysters are all bivalves, which means they have two shells that you must open in order to reach the tasty meat inside. This can be done with a simple flick of the wrist or by pressing down on one shell while twisting off the other.
Mussels can be served steamed, fried or you can use spicy tomato sauce. Once the mussels are done cooking they should be removed from the heat and drained of all liquid before serving.
The Most Popular Mussels Appetizers Are:
- Mussel Marinara – These are served in a creamy wine sauce with fresh tomatoes and herbs.
- Steamed Mussels – Served in their own broth, topped with Italian parsley, garlic butter, and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Pan-seared Mussels – These are served with tomato, chorizo, and piquillo pepper cream sauce over roasted sweet potato puree.
You’ve eaten oyster crackers! You’ve eaten Oysters Rockefeller! They look shiny and slimy, like hunks of something you’d find on the bottom of your shoe. Just kidding, oysters are actually full of calcium, iron, and zinc. Just because you don’t see a heart or lungs doesn’t mean they’re not feeling things.
Their “lungs” (a type of gill) pump water over their bodies so they can breathe. Fresh oysters will be tightly closed; if opened, throw the bad boy back where he belongs-the ocean!
Oysters start out as larvae that swim in protected shallow waters until they mature enough to venture into deeper water to grow for three years before being harvested. Most people like them raw on the half shell, but you can also use them in chowders and stews or batter them and fry them up for an appetizer.
The Most Popular Oyster Appetizers Are:
- Oysters On The Half Shell – Raw oysters are served in their shells with lemon wedges and horseradish sauce on the side. It is common for restaurants to precook and then shuck the oysters for the customer, however, this can sometimes lower the quality of the flavor.
- Oyster Shooters – Oysters shooters are served in tin cups with a little bit of salt.
- Oysters Rockefeller – The dish is usually served with pieces of bacon, pinches of parsley, other green herbs, and butter on top of them. The oysters are then topped with crumbs and then baked in the oven or pan-fried. The oysters are not only baked but also roasted in a bacon-mushroom sauce mixture before they are topped with bread crumbs and baked again. Grilling them also works well for this dish.
The versatility of salmon is one reason it’s so commonly used as an appetizer. Salmon can be grilled, baked, blackened, and more. The flavor properties of salmon also lend it perfectly to an appetizer.
Salmon is also very healthy, containing Vitamin B-12 as well as other vitamins and minerals. Salmon is an incredibly tasty fish that can be prepared in so many different ways, which makes it perfect for a seafood appetizer.
Salmon appetizers are also fairly easy to make. There are countless salmon recipes out there that any cook can try their hand at making.
For example, salmon is commonly found in smoked salmon appetizers such as lox and bagels or even sushi. Smoked salmon is great because of its firm texture and intense flavor. A lot of popular salmon recipes include caviar on top; this adds a unique flavor to the finished product while pleasing guests’ eyes with its shiny appearance.
There are also numerous varieties of salmon to prepare. The most common being Sockeye salmon, which is fairly firm and has a mild flavor. Chum and Coho are other common types of salmon that can be used in appetizers.
The Most Popular Salmon Appetizers Are:
- Sushi – A traditional Japanese dish consisting of small pieces of raw fish or meat (called sushi) that are served wrapped in a sheet of seaweed (called nori), pressed together with rice, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Salmon Tartare – The Salmon Tartare is served in a variety of ways and typically contains raw salmon mixed with salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. It can be served with onion rings, a watercress, and fresh vegetables.
- Smoked Salmon – Smoked salmon is cold smoked with sweet, dill-flavored molasses. It is often served thinly sliced and may also be served as part of other dishes such as eggs benedicts.
- Poached Salmon – Poached salmon is served with a light sauce, which is usually in the form of white wine with butter and lemon.
- Spicy Salmon Rolls – Spicy Salmon Rolls are served in the form of sushi rolls.
- Salmon Ceviche – It is served in a bowl with sliced onions, tomatoes, and peppers. Then the fish is mixed with lime juice, lemon juice, white vinegar, salt, and pepper. The mixture is then placed in the refrigerator for about two hours to let flavors blend. It can be served cold or it can be warmed up to room temperature.
- Chirashi Sushi – Chirashi sushi is served with rice on the bottom of a bowl and topped with glossy slices of fish, vegetables, and other ingredients.
Related: 7 Best Salmon For Smoking
Tuna is a popular ingredient in seafood appetizers because it has a rich fish flavor that compliments many different flavors, and is also relatively economical. This is why you will find many seafood appetizers on the menu of restaurants that specialize in this type of cuisine. It is also the most commonly ordered appetizer at restaurants and sushi bars.
Tuna appetizers are a great way to start off a meal. Tuna is super easy to prepare because it’s not sold in little pieces like shrimp or crab. Instead, tuna comes sold whole and can be prepared however you want very quickly, just open the can and pour.
Tuna takes on whatever flavor is added to it, so if you cook it with onions and tomatoes that’s what you will have, tuna with a delicious sauce.
The Most Popular Tuna Appetizers Are:
- Tuna Tartare – Tuna Tartare is served as a raw dish. It is a dish that is composed of tuna mixed in with onions, capers, and olive oil.
- Tuna Carpaccio – Tuna Carpaccio is a dish that is primarily served as an appetizer. It is made with very thin slices of raw tuna fish, which are then served on top of arugula or spinach leaves and garnished with olive oil, lemon juice, and capers.
- Tuna Sashimi – Tuna sashimi is served with a side of soy sauce.
- Tuna Unagi Donburi – Tuna Unagi Donburi is a popular Japanese dish. It consists of raw tuna sushi that is boiled in soy sauce, sugar, and sake. It is served over a bowl of rice and then topped with eel sauce. It tastes creamy, juicy, sweet, and savory all at once. Some people like to eat it as is while other people mix the tuna sushi in the rice. Either way, Tuna Unagi Donburi has become very popular among raw fish fans.
- Tuna Maguro Nigiri – Tuna Maguro Nigiri is a popular sushi dish. It’s a type of Sushi Nigiri that is made from tuna. This type of nigiri is usually served by itself, however, it can also be paired with other pieces of nigiri sushi to form a sushi roll or hand roll. If you want to make this type of nigiri at home, there are two ways you can prepare it. The first way involves slicing the tuna into thin pieces and then placing it on top in the center of the rice. The second way consists of mixing the tuna with some soy sauce and sugar and then spreading it out on top of the rice so that it creates a layer.
- Seared Ahi – It is served with a side of soy sauce.
Storing Your Seafood
Seafood should be stored in the coldest part of your refrigerator-unless you’re using it soon, leave it on the counter and just keep it covered. To kill bacteria and prevent food poisoning, always wash your hands before handling any kind of raw seafood; if possible, wear gloves or use another utensil so that juices don’t drip onto other foods or surfaces.
The Two Best Methods Of Seafood Cooking
Methods for cooking seafood can be divided into two categories: dry heat and wet heat. Dry heating methods include roasting (baking), broiling (grilling), and pan-frying. These all work well for fish steaks and fish fillets.
Wet heating methods include poaching, steaming, boiling, and stewing. These are great for preserving nutrients in shellfish or large fish by using very little water to make the cooking liquid.
The final aspect of seafood is flavor; you can add all kinds of spices to your seafood to give it a new taste. Whole spices keep their nutritional value longer than ground spices do, so use whole ones if possible.
Sea salt is delicious on just about any kind of seafood, but don’t overdo it. A good rule of thumb is not to use more than one tablespoon per pound or 1/4 cup total for an entire recipe.
When picking out a spice blend, look at the ingredients list first: since many blends contain salt, just pick one low in sodium. You can also add herbs to enhance flavor; parsley, dill, and basil are all good choices.
Chopped garlic is another good addition, but make sure you use it sparingly-one clove per pound of seafood is usually plenty. As far as liquid additions go, white wine (dry or not) and beer taste great with seafood, especially shellfish like clams or mussels.
Fish steaks or fillets will take on the flavor of any kind of vinegar, so feel free to try different kinds for a change in flavor. Tartar sauce works well too.