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What Are the Different Types of Seafood Appetizers?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated May 16, 2024
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Seafood appetizers are a staple at many parties and holiday get-togethers. The choices of seafood to use as ingredients in appetizers are nearly endless, from clams and crabs to oysters. Seafood appetizers may be prepared with a variety of cooking methods, including baked, breaded or steamed. Some seafood appetizers can be pickled, and others are served raw.

Oysters offer a wealth of seafood appetizer possibilities. Oysters on the half shell, oysters wrapped in bacon and pickled oysters are some of the appetizer options. Oyster bruschetta features fresh oysters and is served on slices of French bread. Oysters casino is a baked dish featuring oysters, onions and red bell peppers.

Shrimp can be grilled, baked or steamed and served alone or in a cocktail sauce as seafood appetizers. Shrimp can also be paired with crab for a shrimp and crab cocktail. Shrimp also can be stuffed with clams and baked, and shrimp can be added to a salad and spooned into oyster shells. Shrimp spring rolls are similar to shrimp egg rolls, but they are not fried.

Smoked salmon is a versatile ingredient used when preparing seafood appetizers. Smoked salmon can be used to make smoked salmon tartare and served on crostini; pairing smoked salmon with goat cheese creates a strata. Smoked salmon in cucumber cups features hollowed-out cucumbers filled with a smoked salmon, sour cream and cilantro mixture.

Seafood appetizers will often incorporate crab meat. Hot crab appetizers combine cooked crab meat with mayonnaise and artichoke hearts and are served on baguette bread. Another crab appetizer served on baguettes is crab dip, which features crab meat mixed with cream cheese, sour cream and Parmesan cheese. A low-fat seafood appetizer is crab cakes with orange-dill sauce. The crab cakes are topped with the sauce and served cold. Other seafood appetizers featuring crab include snow peas stuffed with crab, truffle custards with crab and caviar, and baked deviled crab.

Herring and tuna are also main ingredients in many seafood appetizers. Ahi Tuna Poke is a Hawaiian dish featuring bite-sized pieces of tuna prepared with soy sauce and green onions. The prepared tuna pieces are individually wrapped in lettuce leaves, and the appetizers are eaten using chop sticks, fingers or a fork. Tuna mousse features canned oil-packed tuna blended with soy sauce, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar and served with crackers. Herring salad, which features wine-flavored herring pieces combined with chopped apples and chopped dill pickles, is served on rye bread.

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Discussion Comments
By tigers88 — On Feb 28, 2012

My favorite seafood recipes tend to be appetizer food. I think that seafood makes such a great appetizer because it is light and it has a mild flavor that pairs well with many other things. This means that guests can get a bold tasting bite of food but not be filled up before eating a meal.

By whiteplane — On Feb 28, 2012

I got a cookbook of appetizer ideas recently and I am so excited to try some of the horderves recipes I am finding. Especially the one involving seafood. There is one for fried crab bites that looks incredible. There is also an Asian shrimp and and coconut shrimp recipe that I want to try.

The only problem is that seafood is expensive, especially when you start using crab and lobster. I would like to experiment with these recipes before I roll them out for a crowd but I don't have the funds to be buying crab twice a week.

By Ivan83 — On Feb 27, 2012

I think that plain old shrimp with cocktail sauce is one of the best seafood appetizers of all time. Shrimp is delicious, there is almost no one that doesn't like it and it goes beautifully with a good tangy cocktail sauce.

A good seafood soup can also be a good appetizer. I went to a dinner party recently and the hostess served an amazing lobster bisque as the first course. It set the stage for an delicious meal.

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