Looking for the perfect appetizer to serve at your next party? Seafood starters will certainly steal the spotlight and add an elegant element to any get-together. Your guests will delight in simple finger foods, such as crab cakes, enjoy dipping their shrimp in not one but three sauces, and love topping their crackers with smoked salmon sushi.
It’s important to purchase high-quality seafood for these recipes. Seafood Health Facts notes that you should buy seafood from reputable dealers — those who have a reputation for following safe-handling practices — and avoid roadside stands. In addition, seafood is highly perishable, meaning you should purchase it as last minute as you can. Make sure the raw juices from your seafood don’t drop on other foods (bacteria in the raw juices can cause foods to spoil); you can prevent cross-contamination in your shopping cart by placing seafood in individual plastic bags. Finally, fresh is not always best. Seafood Health Facts explains that frozen seafood can be superior to fresh seafood, so always base your purchasing decisions on product quality, not fresh versus frozen.
Ready to stun your guests with fresh and flavorful seafood starters? Keep reading to discover 7 recipes.
1. Lobster Cakes with Papaya Mayonnaise
Lovely lobster flavors abound in What’s Cooking America’s recipe, which was adapted from Chef Gregory Cornelius. Unlike many other lobster dishes, you’ll find that this one is relatively easy to prepare. Lobster meat, jalapeño peppers, and red pepper are pulsed in a food processor, mixed with spices, mayo, and bread crumbs, and formed into patties. At this point, you’ll need to refrigerate them at least 3 hours or overnight, so plan accordingly. This step ensures the cakes are firm, and prevents them from breaking up when they’re fried. Before frying your cakes, lightly dredge them in a few more breadcrumbs; they’ll hold up for about an hour in a 200-degree oven.
- Papaya Mayonnaise
- 1 pound (approximately 2 cups) cooked fresh or frozen lobster meat
- 1 to 2 jalapeño chile peppers, seeded and finely diced (or to taste)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2½ cups dry unseasoned breadcrumbs, divided
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup finely-peeled and chopped papaya (about 1 medium)
- Juice of 1 medium lime
- 2 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons good-quality mayonnaise
Directions: To prepare papaya mayonnaise, remove the papaya skin and seeds, and discard. Use a food processor to purée the papaya and the juice of the lime until smooth. You should have approximately 1 cup of papaya purée. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and add the sugar and mayonnaise. Stir until smooth. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.
To make the patties, in a food processor, pulse the lobster, jalapeño peppers, and red pepper just enough to break the lobster into small pieces. Transfer lobster mixture to a large bowl. Add thyme, allspice, mustard, sugar, egg, mayonnaise, and ½ cup of bread crumbs, mixing well. Divide the mixture into 16 portions and form into small patties. Place onto a baking sheet lined wither with parchment or wax paper; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerator at least 3 hours or overnight. Place remaining bread crumbs in a flat dish or shallow dish dish; lightly dredge chilled lobster patties in the crumbs.
In a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, heat butter until hot but not smoking; add more butter if needed. Gently lay chilled lobster cakes onto bottom of the pan; fry 3 to minutes per side or until until golden brown on each side. Remove from heat and let drain on paper towels. Place 2 or 3 lobster patties onto individual serving plates and serve warm with Papaya Mayonnaise.