Easy Gourmet Seafood Appetizers

Gourmet Seafood is difficult to find and it is a showcase ingredient for appetizers that have a taste (not to mention health factor) that your guests crave and will remember long after they have returned home. Here are some of the recipes we think show off the seafood best.

Peekytoe Crab Fritters

You will never want crab cakes again! These are spectacular and quite easy to make.


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter 
  • 3 ears corn, kernels removed from cob (approximately 2 cups) (or use frozen corn)
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup yellow stone ground grits
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 bunch scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced 
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces (1 cup) fresh peekytoe crabmeat
  • 2 quarts oil for frying
  • Espelette pepper to taste (or mixture of cayenne and ancho chili powder)

In a sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter and add the corn kernels. Cook until the corn is tender but not brown, about 3 minutes. Set aside and let cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and sugar. Mix until well incorporated. Add the eggs, milk, scallions, parsley, salt, black pepper, and the cooked corn–butter mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are well incorporated. Gently fold in the peekytoe crab.

In a deep fryer or large pot on the stove, heat the oil to 325°F. Using a small spoon (I used an ice cream scoop), carefully drop approximately 2 ounces of batter into the fryer. Fry, turning occasionally, for 5 to 8 minutes until the fritters are golden brown and the batter is cooked through in the middle. Toss the fritters with a generous amount of espelette pepper (or hybrid) and serve immediately.

Peeky Toe Crab Cakes

For Crab Cakes

  • 1 lb Peekytoe crabmeat, fresh picked
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons tartar sauce 
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 4 slices of white bread, crusts removed, torn into tiny pieces yielding 2 cups
  • 1 cup of Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  • sea salt
  • 1 cup of Organic Canola Oil


  1. Heat one tablespoon in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and a smidgen of sea salt. Cook until the shallots are translucent. Let the shallots cool.
  2. Whisk together the eggs, Worcestershire sauce, tartar sauce, zest of lemon, tabasco, parsley and cooked shallots.
  3. Gently fold in the crabmeat and torn bread. The mixture will be wet. Using a medium size ice cream scooper, scoop the crab mixture and carefully shape meat into a small round, press down ever so slightly as you place the crab mix onto a cookie sheet coated with Panko crumbs. The crab cake should be about 2 1/2 inches across and 1 3/4 inches thick. Continue until you've made 12 crab cakes. Sprinkle the top of the crab cakes with panko crumbs and press lightly. Cover the crab cakes with remaining panko, then loosely with a sheet of wax paper. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour.
  4. Pour canola oil into heavy large fry pan and turn heat onto medium till a breadcrumb dropped in the hot oil begins to sizzle. Add 6 crab cakes and cook till golden brown (about 2-3 minutes) on one side. Flip gently and cook on the other side till golden brown. Drain on paper towels and top with a drizzle of Honey Basil Vinagrette. Sprinkle with fresh chopped chives and a little Maine sea salt.

For Honey Basil Vinaigrette (Put all ingredients into blender until smooth. Add remaining mayonnaise after blended)

  1. 11/4 cup fresh basil
  2. 1/2 cup + 2 heaping Tablespoons mayonnaise
  3. 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  4. 3 teaspoons Maine honey


  • 1 pound fresh, skinless snapper, bass, halibut, or other ocean fish fillets, cut into 1/2-inch dice (the fresh fillets from To-Table make this incredible. Find all the possible fillets you will need here)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 medium-large tomatoes (about 1 pound), chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Fresh hot green chiles (2 to 3 serranos or 1 to 2 jalapeños), stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, plus a few leaves for garnish
  • 1/3 cup chopped pitted green olives (manzanillos for a typical Mexican flavor)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice or 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 large or 2 small ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
  • Tostadas, tortilla chips or saltine crackers, for serving
    1. In a 1 1/2-quart glass or stainless steel bowl, combine the fish, lime juice and onion. Use enough juice to cover the fish and allow it to float freely; too little juice means unevenly "cooked" fish. Cover and refrigerate for about 4 hours, until a cube of fish no longer looks raw when broken open. Drain in a colander.
    2. In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, green chiles, cilantro, olives and optional olive oil. Stir in the fish and season with salt, usually about 1/2 teaspoon. Add the orange juice or sugar. Cover and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Just before serving, gently stir in the diced avocado.


Working ahead: The fish may be marinated a day in advance; after about 4 hours, when the fish is "cooked," drain it so that it won't become too tangy. For the freshest flavor, add the flavorings to the fish no more than a couple of hours before serving.


There are many ways to serve ceviche. Here are some of our favorites: Place the ceviche in a large bowl and let people spoon it onto individual plates to eat with chips or saltines; spoon the ceviche into small bowls and serve tostadas, chips or saltines alongside; or pile the ceviche onto chips or tostadas and pass around for guests to consume on these edible little plates. Garnish the ceviche with cilantro leaves before serving.


Cold Abalone Slices with Sweet and Spicy Sauce


  • 2 cups cooked diced lobster meat (From boiled Live Maine Lobster)
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons snipped chives
  • pinch of freshly ground black pepper

For the Toast

  • 8 slices firm white bread
  • 8 tablespoons soft butter
Place lobster in medium bowl. Blend mayonnaise, lemon juice, chives and pepper; spoon over lobster and gently toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.

Remove crusts from bread, if desired. Butter both sides of bread and toast on a griddle until golden brown and crispy. Top with lobster salad and cut into serving pieces. Garnish as desired.

Octopus Slices with Sesame Dipping Sauce


  • 4-6 Pound Cleaned and Tenderized (ours already is!) Octopus
  • 8 Tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 4 Tablespoons Sesame seeds
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Add the octopus tentacles first. Press it down with a wooden spoon to completely submerge it.
  3. Turn it over a few minutes later and bring the head to the bottom. The octopus should have changed color to red.
  4. Turn it over every few minutes to cook evenly. Cook for 13 to 15 minutes. If it’s cooked too long, the octopus will be rubbery, and if it’s not cooked enough, it’ll be a little translucent. The flesh should be nice and soft and white. You can test if it’s done or not by poking the thickest tentacle with a chopstick. It should go through easily.
  5. Take the octopus out of the boiling water. Quickly rinse it in cold water to stop it cooking and to keep the skin smooth and beautiful.
  6. Strain and let it cool down.
  7. Cut off the head.
  8. Split the cluster of tentacles in half. In the middle of both halves will be the mouth and beak. Remove these and discard.
  9. Split each tentacle from its cluster. Cut the tentacles into thin slices and serve on a platter with the dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauce:

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon salt with 8 tablespoons sesame oil in a small, shallow bowl.
  2. Add 4 tablespoon sesame seeds.

 Sea Scallops with Aguachile Sauce

Food and Wine, May 2013


  • 1 pound sea scallops, sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño—stemmed and chopped, half the seeds discarded
  • 4 ounces English cucumber, seeded and coarsely chopped, plus 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber
  • 1 small garlic clove, smashed
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed parsely
  • 1 tablespoon mint
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • Tostadas or tortilla chips, for serving

In a glass bowl, toss the scallops with the lime juice. Cover and refrigerate for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the scallops just start to turn opaque.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the jalapeño with the chopped cucumber, garlic, cilantro, parsley, mint, oil and water and puree until very smooth. Season the aguachile with salt.

Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the lime juice from the scallops. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the aguachile to the scallops and mix well; reserve the remaining aguachile for another use. Fold in the onion and the thinly sliced cucumber and season with salt. Spoon into bowls or glasses and serve with tostadas or tortilla chips.

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