The Best, Simple, Cold Seafood Appetizers


For seafood lovers, no buffet table is complete without some fresh, chilled seafood. Several types of seafood can be served raw or cold, including oysters and shrimp. To ensure the seafood stays fresh, keep the serving plates over ice if possible. Select simple, tried and true cold seafood appetizers so guests won't be intimidated to try them.

Shrimp Cocktail

  • Shrimp cocktail is one of the more common cold seafoods often served at parties. To create this appetizer, you need some extra-large frozen cooked shrimp. Thaw cooked shrimp and arrange them on the rim of a cocktail glass or a large glass bowl. Fill the glass or bowl with cocktail sauce. If you want to start with raw shrimp, boil them in a pot of water and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Chill the shrimp in the refrigerator until completely cold before serving.

Oysters on the Half Shell

  • No cooking is required for serving oysters on the half-shell. The oysters, however, do need to be cleaned and scrubbed thoroughly to remove dirt, particularly around the hinges. To shuck the oysters, place a towel over your palm to protect your hand. Hold one oyster firmly in the toweled hand and slip a sharp, strong knife blade between the top and bottom shell by the hinge in the back. Run the knife all the way around the shell in a twisting motion to loosen the shell. Pry the top open once you go all around carefully, so as not to lose any juices. Slide the knife under the oyster meat to disconnect it from the shell, but do not remove. Serve the loosened oysters in their open shell over a bed of coarse salt.

Cold Seafood Salad

  • This salad combines several types of seafood, including chopped cooked shrimp, fresh shredded crab meat and freshly steamed mussels. You can add and omit seafood based on your preferences. For instance, you can add chopped scallops and cooked calamari to the salad. Combine with chopped green and red peppers, tomatoes, onion, cucumbers and minced parsley. Toss with red wine vinegar and olive oil to taste and place into a bowl lined with lettuce leaves for presentation.

Crab Legs

  • Crab legs are tasty served both hot and cold. To serve crab legs as cold appetizers, choose large Alaskan King crab legs because they have the most meat in them. King crab legs come already cooked, so you only need to thaw them out in the refrigerator. On the underside of the legs where they are white, using kitchen shears, cut a slit in the shell on both sides from the joint to the tip. Remove the shell to expose the crab meat. Guest can simply lift the meat from the crab legs with their forks to avoid a mess. Serve with cocktail sauce and melted butter.

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