4 New England – Approved Surf And Turf Recipes (+ Seafood Buying Tips)

If you want to bring an air of sophistication and celebration to your dinner table without spending hours in the kitchen, a surf and turf dinner might be the perfect solution. 

With the right ingredients and a bit of planning, you can pull off an effortless meal that looks (and tastes!) over the top—and we’ve got just the recipes to show you how. 

Steak-Lobster Surf and Turf
Prime Sirloin NY strip Steaks paired with Maine lobster tails.

Read on to discover:

  • What actually counts as Surf and Turf
  • 4 New England-approved recipes that will wow your taste buds
  • How to plan the perfect surf and turf dinner menu (+ buy good ingredients)

Surf’s up!

What is Surf and Turf?

Surf and turf is a style of menu that offers the best of both the land and the sea. This means customers don’t have to choose between the steak and the lobster and just get them both. This is a classic offering at steakhouses and seafood restaurants. 

Surf and turf plates are often show-stopping displays of vibrant, fresh seafood and juicy seared steak. Alongside the main course, you’ll often find vegetable side dishes like crisp green asparagus, creamed spinach, whipped potatoes, or other sides to balance out all the protein. 

Ultimately, surf and turf is a delightful culinary experience of texture, flavor, and aroma in one unique meal.  

How to Plan a Surf and Turf Menu

To put together a surf and turf menu of your own, start with a bit of planning to make sure your dinner comes together perfectly. 

One of the best parts about surf and turf is that you can often cook both the meat and seafood in the same pan, which means less mess. Whether you use a grill, broiler, or stovetop, you can first sear the meat, then quickly cook the seafood while your steak rests. 

First, choose your surf and your turf entrees. The most classic surf and turf menus feature red meat, often steak. However, if you’re not a fan or don’t eat red meat, you can certainly substitute steak for some chicken or pork. 

If you want to stand out even more, put your own spin on turf entree with a unique protein like lamb or duck. There really are no rules, so now’s your time to experiment in the kitchen!

Likewise, for the surf side of things, you have plenty of options. The most classic and extravagant surf and turf plates feature a bold red lobster, either whole or just the tail. Sometimes the tail is stuffed for added visual and flavor appeal. Other surf options include succulent shrimp, seared scallops, crab cakes, or your favorite fish fillet. 

Finally, round out your surf and turf menu with one or two side dishes. These don’t have to be complicated or overdone. The meat and seafood are the stars of the show, so the sides are the supporting actors there to help the proteins shine. See below for the best side dish ideas to pair with your surf and turf. 

Best Surf and Turf Recipes

To get your planning process started, here are some of the best surf and turf pairings to try at home. These pairings are restaurant-quality and easier than you might think to pull together.

Steak and Shrimp

Steak and shrimp is a beloved surf and turf pairing. Shrimp are naturally sweet and light to balance the richness of the steak. Plus, perfectly cooked shrimp add a nice pop of pale pink to the plate for an effortless (and edible) decoration. 

Steak Shrimp Surf and Turf
All-natural colossal shrimp tops a beautifully seared sirloin steak.

Filet mignon is the perfect accompaniment to large, juicy shrimp. This buttery-soft cut is tender and juicy when cooked on the grill. Use our tips to know the exact moment to pull your steaks from the flames.

And while you have the grill fired up, assemble your shrimp on skewers for a quick and easy preparation. If you choose large shrimp two or three per person should be sufficient with the steak. 

And if you plan to serve the shrimp on the skewer, opt for short wooden skewers that will fit nicely on your dinner plates. Be sure to soak the wood for at least 30 minutes before grilling to prevent charring. 

When you’re ready to cook:

  1. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill over medium-high heat.
  2. Pat your steaks and shrimp dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. Brush with a thin coating of neutral oil. 
  3. Place the steaks on the grill and cook according to the times in this chart, flipping once with tongs. 
  4. After you’ve removed the steak to rest, place the shrimp skewers on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes per side.
  5. Remove the shrimp when they are bright pink and curled into a “C” shape. Keep a close eye on the shrimp, as they cook quickly. 

Or, If you like, you can add a boost of flavor by marinating the shrimp for 15 minutes in a simple mixture of:

  • Citrus juice (lemon, orange or lime juice)
  • A teaspoon of dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme or parsley) 
  • A minced garlic clove. 

What Size Shrimp Should You Use?

While you can technically use any size shrimp for surf and turf, you’ll get the most flavor and a stunning presentation with colossal shrimp. These are best for grilling as they can withstand direct heat without overcooking or turning rubbery. Plus, they won’t fall through the grates!

Also Read: Shrimp Sizing Guide: Large, Jumbo, Colossal, And Beyond

Steak and Lobster Tails

If you’re really aiming to impress, serve up restaurant-quality steak and lobster for dinner. A brilliant red lobster tail makes a statement on the plate. Add a homemade oven-broiled steak and you have an all-around winning combination for every palate that’ll satisfy even the most pretentious New England seafood chef. 

We make this show-stopping dinner easy to pull off with our ready-to-prepare Captain’s Tails and Turf package. This combo includes two buttery-soft fillets with the meatiest Atlantic cold water lobster tails and a zesty key lime pie to finish things off. 

Here’s how to prepare steak and lobster tails for dinner:

First, prep and season your lobster

  1. Make a deep lengthwise cut in the top of the lobster tails. 
  2. Gently pry the shells apart and season the meat with melted butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. If you like, you can add a dusting of Old Bay seasoning, smoked paprika, or any dried herb you love.

(For more tips on how to properly prepare lobster, check out our guide.)

Meanwhile, fire up your broiler to high and prepare the steaks.

  1. Place an oven rack two to three inches from the heat source. 
  2. Place the steaks on a baking sheet and generously season both sides with salt and pepper. 
  3. Place the baking sheet under the broiler.
  4. Use this chart to determine the best cooking time for your steaks.
  5. Remove the steaks from the oven just before they reach your desired doneness, transfer to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and let the meat rest while you broil the lobster. 

Cook the lobster. 

  1. Place the prepared lobster tails on the same baking sheet.
  2. Place them under the broiler and cook until the meat is opaque, about 5 to 10 minutes. 

Finally, plate everything up and dig in!

Surf and Turf for Dad
I sent the surf and turf dinner for my dad for his birthday. He said it was one of the best lobster tails he has ever had. I will definitely be ordering again and this for myself. The whole process was quick and easy.
C. Horsham, PA
Order Surf and Turf Dinner

Steak and Scallops

Steak and scallops might be a more unusual approach to surf and turf, but it still fits the bill. In fact, plump, fresh sea scallops have a soft and flaky texture that pairs well with steak. 

Since scallops are so naturally buttery on their own, you can swap the more traditional fillet with a high-quality New York strip steak

This surf and turf pairing calls for the stovetop. Use a large, heavy-bottomed cast-iron pan or skillet to sear both your steaks and scallops. 

Here’s how to cook it:

  1. First, pat the scallops and steaks dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Brush them with a thin coating of canola oil or another high-heat oil. 
  2. Heat your pan over medium-high heat for a good 3 to 5 minutes, until hot. 
  3. Gently place the steaks in the skillet and sear for 4 minutes, or until you have a nice brown crust on one side. Use tongs to flip the steaks and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. 
  4. Add a 2-tablespoon pat of butter to the skillet and as it melts, spoon the butter over the steaks for another minute. 
  5. Remove the steaks from the skillet when they are 5 to 10 degrees away from your desired doneness. Place on a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and rest while you sear the scallops. 
  6. Return the skillet to medium-high heat. 
  7. When the oil is hot, gently place the scallops into the skillet, leaving several inches of space between each scallop. 
  8. Sear for 2 minutes undisturbed, then add 1 tablespoon of butter to and gently flip the scallops with tongs or a thin fish spatula to sear for another minute, until cooked through but still soft in the center. 

Plate up your steaks and scallops and serve hot!

Also Read: Scallop 101: How to Buy Fresh Scallops on Dry Land or Online

Fillet and Crab Cakes

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes come packed with flavor and seasoned to perfection. This means you can rely on crab cakes for an easy yet impressive surf offering. Pair them with tender fillet for a well-balanced meal that comes together in minutes. 

Crab Cake Surf and Turf

Before you start cooking, make sure your crab cakes are thawed in the refrigerator. This way, they’ll cook in 10 minutes or less. 

Use a large heavy cast-iron skillet for both the steak and the crab cakes. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, pat the steaks dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Brush them with a thin coating of canola oil or another high-heat oil. 
  2. Heat your pan over medium-high heat for a good 3 to 5 minutes, until hot. 
  3. Gently place the steaks in the skillet and sear for 4 minutes, or until you have a nice brown crust on one side. Use tongs to flip the steaks and cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side. 
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and as it melts, spoon the butter over the steaks for another minute. 
  5. Remove the steaks from the skillet when they are 5 to 10 degrees away from your desired doneness. Place on a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest while you cook the crab cakes.
  6. Melt another 2 tablespoons of butter in the empty skillet. 
  7. When the butter is melted, place the crab cakes in the hot pan and sear for 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown on both sides and cooked through.  

Side Dishes that Pair Perfectly with Dinner

To round out your surf and turf dinner, add a side dish or two that adds a bit of color and freshness to the plate. 

Some classic side dishes to pair with surf and turf include:

  • Sautéed Mushrooms. Melt down thinly sliced mushrooms in plenty of garlic and butter for a side dish that doubles as a sauce for your steak. 
  • Grilled Asparagus. Throw thick stalks of asparagus on the grill alongside your shrimp and fillet for an instant splash of brightness with minimal effort.
  • Mashed Potatoes. This steakhouse classic is always welcome next to the steak. Add fresh herbs for a lighter touch to compliment your seafood.  
  • Caesar Salad. Crisp romaine, savory parmesan, and crunchy croutons add a refreshing counterpoint to the feast on your dinner plate. 
  • Boston Seafood Chowder. We’re always partial to a creamy seafood soup as a first course. Don’t forget the oyster crackers for the full New England experience. 

What To Drink with Seafood and Steak?

Of course, what’s in your glass is just as important as what’s on your plate. We always recommend starting with a refreshing chilled cocktail. 

Adding a splash of acid from citrus or tomato to your glass is a great way to bring out the natural flavors in your seafood. See this list of the best drinks to serve with fresh seafood for some cocktail inspiration. 

If you’d rather go the wine route, things can get a little trickier. Red meat calls for a robust red, while light seafood is more classically paired with a refreshing white wine. However, you can find complex and powerful white wines with plenty of flavor to cut through the richness of your steak. Even a bubbly sparkling wine can stand up well to steak. 

When it comes to red wines, stay away from anything highly tannic, which will overpower and distort the flavor of your seafood. Instead, choose a fruity and light red, such as a Pinot Noir to complement both proteins. 

Dessert for Surf and Turf Dinners

You didn’t think we could forget dessert, did you? A sweet finish is what ties your masterpiece meal together for the perfect ending.

When it comes to choosing the perfect dessert to end your meal with, you have options. Because surf and turf unites delicate seafood with the bolder flavors and textures of meat, you can choose to take your dessert in a light and fruity or dense and chocolaty direction. 

Some of the best desserts for surf and turf include:

  • Chocolate Molten Lava Cake. Crisp and firm on the outside with a gooey, melty center, this decadent chocolate dessert is just missing a dollop of whipped cream.  
  • Lemon Tarts. If you’re more in the mood for a bright and sour finish, miniature lemon tartlets are the ideal end to your meal. You can even make these stunning golden treats ahead of time so you can spend more time enjoying your meal instead of in the kitchen.
  • Creme Brulee. This is an all-time classic dessert for a reason. It’s decadent, creamy, and topped with a glassy crisp crust of caramelized sugar that everyone loves to shatter. You can prepare the custards a day ahead and broil the sugar on top when you’re broiling your steaks or lobsters.
  • Strawberry Shortcake. If you’re serving your surf and turf on a warm summer night, this is a must-have dessert. Fresh, plump strawberries and flaky biscuits make a soft landing for plenty of homemade whipped cream. 

And if none of these sweet treats satisfy your sweet tooth, we’ve compiled the 30 best desserts to pair with lobster for more dessert inspiration.  

Where to Buy the Best Quality Ingredients

It can be hard finding the best ingredients for dinner. It’s a good thing we’ve curated the best ready-to-prepare surf and turf meals shipped right to your doorstep for an indulgent dinner without any fuss. 

Each dinner contains fresh and tasty ingredients and won’t use any flavor because we…

  • Only include the highest quality products 
  • Never add chemicals or preservatives — 100% natural
  • Ship our dinners overnight to ensure maximum flavor and freshness

Choose from customer favorites like the premium Back Bay Surf & Turf package, which includes jumbo lobster tails, center-cut filet mignon, and creamy New England clam chowder on the side.

Or keep things laid back with the Lazy Man Lobster Dinner, with already-shelled lobster tails and filet mignon.

If you’re feeding a crowd, our Nantucket Lobster Tails and Turf combo has you covered with 4 large cold-water tails, two center-cut filets, and two prime New York steaks.

However you like your surf and turf, always choose freshly caught, express-shipped seafood and steak.

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