This Surf and Turf recipe is a perfect combination of the juicy, pan-seared steak with sautéed shrimp and scallos in a buttery garlic sauce. This dish is very easy to make and will take only about 20 minutes to cook. It’s a great dinner for a special night!
Table of Contents
Special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Father’s day, and many other holidays is the time when we go out for a nice dinner at a restaurant. Unfortunately, during big holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, so do hundreds and thousands of other people in town. The best restaurants get booked up weeks and months in advance and you have to wait in long lines just to get a table.
So why fight for a table at a restaurant when you can make you own special dinner right at home? It could be even more special when you put in the time and love into making dinner for someone. Or, make it more romantic and cook together!
Cooking for someone or together with someone is a simple way to express your affections. The extra care you add while cooking is a beautiful gift for your loved one.
It’s also the perfect time to go a little over the top, and there’s no better way to accomplish this than with a delicious combination of pan seared steak and seafood!
What Is Surf and Turf?
It is simply a combination of meat found in the sea (surf) and found on land (turf). Served as a main course, it was often reserved for special occasions because of the cost. However, you can easily make this dish right at home using ingredients that fit your budget.
While the “turf” portion is usually beef steak, some prefer to make rack of lamb or bone-in pork chops instead.
For the “surf” portion, there are plenty of options to choose from. Any combination of lobster tail, crab legs, prawns, shrimp, and scallops can be used for this dish, or pick your favorite and let it shine.
Selecting Your Ingredients
Red meat – I like to use ribeye steaks, NY strip steaks, or filet mignon, depending on the mood and what looks best at the store. Feel free to choose any of your favorite cut and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Sea scallops – These are the largest size available, and they can be pan-seared long enough to form a crust while maintaining a tender center. Look for ones that are firm and dry with a texture similar to pork chops. They should have even thickness throughout and be free of any rips or tears. Find more tips in my post for seared scallops.
Jumbo shrimp – It’s up to you whether to use fresh or frozen shrimp. See what is available locally, and avoid any that appear slimy or smell like ammonia. If you are unsure, stick with frozen and thaw them in the refrigerator overnight.
PRO TIP: When choosing a combination of shrimp and scallops, make sure to choose the type that is comparable in size for it cooks evenly! So for jumbo shrimp, choose sea scallops and for small shrimp, choose smaller scallops.
How to Clean and Devein Shrimp
While you can easily buy peeled and deveined shrimp, it could be cheaper to buy them still in shells and clean them yourself. You can watch a quick demo video on how to peel and devein shrimp and see step by step photos in my other post. To start:
- Carefully peel off the outer shell without tearing the meat inside.
- Using a paring knife, make a small incision along the curved back.
- Lift the thin, grey vein with the tip of the knife, then pull the entire thing out with your fingers.
- Once all of the shellfish deveined, rinse under cool water and pat dry.
How To Make Surf and Turf
PRO TIP: Make sure to pull the steaks out of the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before cooking to let them warm up!
PRO TIP: Pat steaks dry and season them generously with salt and pepper on all sides right before placing it in the preheated skillet.
Pan sear the steak.
Preheat the skillet over medium-high heat and when it’s hot, add some oil to the pan. Place seasoned steaks into the pan and cook them for a 3-4 minutes, flip, add butter, and cook another 3-4 minutes.
Once a nice crust has formed, lower the temperature to medium, and continue cooking until they have reached your desired temperature.
Then, take them out of them pan and place on the plate to rest while you sook the seafood. Doing so will allow the juices to redistribute through the meat so it becomes nice and juicy.
Cook the seafood.
In the same skillet, raise the temperature back to medium-high, add more butter, and place all of the seafood inside in a single layer. Leave as much space as possible between each piece so you don’t crowd the pan.
Sear on both sides.
After about 2 minutes, carefully flip the shrimp and scallops over in the same order they were originally added. This guarantees that everything cooks for the same amount of time on each side.
Make the sauce.
Remove the seafood, add garlic, and sauté it until it’s fragrant and starting to brown. Deglaze the skillet with wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced a bit.
Stir in the lemon juice, then toss the scallops and shrimp in the sauce with some parsley.
Plate and serve.
Arrange the steak and seafood on the plates and spoon more sauce over the top. Pair with your sides of choice and enjoy!
Tips To Remember
Bring steak to room temperature. Give the steaks a good amount of time to warm up before cooking! Not only will this allow the meat to cook more evenly, but it will be more tender as well. That’s because cold meat tends to seize when exposed to high heat, causing it to become tough hard to chew.
Pat everything dry first. Removing excess liquid helps before adding the seasoning will lead to a better sear on the outside. Too much moisture will prevent that gorgeous golden-brown crust and salt will bring out moisture as soon as it touches the surface of meat. So pat meats dry and season right before cooking.
Use cast iron. Because the cast iron skillet distributes heat more evenly, everything will cook at the evenly and get consistent coloring. If you don’t have any cast iron pans, the next best option would be stainless steel. Whatever you do, avoid anything with Teflon coating since it is not safe to use at higher temperatures.
To take the temperature correctly: insert a thermometer into the center of the beef, though the side! (Not the top.) Remove the meat from the pan when it reaches the first number due to carryover cooking. As the meat rests, it will continue to cook about 5 more degrees.
125°-130° = Rare
135°-140° = Medium-rare
145°-150° = Medium
150°-155° = Medium-well
160°-165° = Well
A green vegetable adds a nice balance to the richness of the pan seared steak and compound butter. Sauté some haricots verts, asparagus, or even broccoli and cauliflower. Don’t forget to make some sautéed mushrooms!
Mashed potatoes are always a great pairing option, along with oven-roasted red potatoes or fluffy baked potatoes loaded with your favorite topping.
For more comforting options, go with hashbrown casserole or scalloped potatoes.
For the turf: any choice of steak, pork chops, pork loin, chicken breasts.
For the surf: shrimp, scallops, lobster, calamari, octopus.
More Special Occasion Recipes To Try
Surf and Turf is a perfect dinner for special occasion but there are quite a few other recipes that would be great and all quite easy to make.
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? PLEASE leave a 🌟 star rating! Let me know how you liked it by leaving the 📝 comment below or share and tag me on social media @willcookforsmiles. DON’T FORGET to subscribe to my newsletter!
Surf and Turf Recipe
- 2 NY Strip Steaks, Filet Mignon, Ribeye Steaks, or any favorite steaks
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- sea salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 1/2 lb large shrimp
- 1/2 lb sea scallops
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- sea salt
- fresh cracked black pepper
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
- fresh minced parsley
Prepare the meats:
- Take the steaks out of the refrigerator about 30-45 minutes before cooking. Cold meat will seize in it hits high heat suddenly so for the best results, make sure to let it warm up.
- When ready to start cooking, pat each steak dry with a paper towel all around.
- Clean and de-vein the shrimp. (Click here for instructional video.) Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel. When ready to cook, season shrimp and scallops with some salt and pepper all around.
Pan Seared Steaks:
- Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until completely hot (give it a few minutes).
- Season steaks generously with salt and pepper on all the sides. (Pat it dry before seasoning again, if needed.)
- Add oil to the pan and spread it around.
- Add steaks and let them cook for 3-4 minutes, undisturbed. Flip the steaks with metal tongs and add butter. Sear steaks for another 3-4 minutes on the other side, also undisturbed. Once butter is melted, baste the steaks with melted butter as it cooks.
- Check temperature of the steaks* and cook more if needed. Lower temrpature to medium.Flip the steaks to the other side and cook it for another minute before flipping again. Keep cooking and flipping every about every minute until they are cooked to the desired temperature. Use a digital meat thermometer to measure for the desired doneness.
- Once the steaks have reached the desired temperature, take them out right away. Set aside on the plate, loosely tent with a sheet of aluminum foil, and let them rest while seafood is cooking.
To Cook Seafood:
- If there was excess juices from cooking the steaks, pour some of them off but don't scrape the pan. Just the juices. Raise the temperature back to medium-high.
- Add butter to the pan and add seafood in one layer, don't overlap. Do not move or touch until ready to flip.
- Sear scallops and shrimp for about 2 minutes (a few seconds more or a few seconds less depending on the size).
- Flip each scallop and shrimp in the same order as you put them in. Let them sear for another 1.5-2 minutes and take them out of the pan.
- Add minced garlic and let it cook until fragrant and pour in white wine. Let it simmer until reduced some.
- Add lemon juices, stir well, and add back scallops and shrimp. Sprinkle some minced parsley, toss it around, and then plate with the steaks. Make sure to use some of the sauce left in the pan and pour it over the steak and seafood.
- Bring steak to room temperature. Give the steaks a good amount of time to warm up before cooking! Cold meat tends to seize when exposed to high heat, causing it to become tough hard to chew.
- Pat everything dry first. Removing excess liquid helps before adding the seasoning will lead to a better sear on the outside.
- Use cast iron. Because the cast iron skillet distributes heat more evenly, everything will cook at the evenly and get consistent coloring.
- To take the temperature correctly: insert a thermometer into the center of the beef, though the side! (Not the top.) Remove the meat from the pan when it reaches the first number due to carryover cooking. As the meat rests, it will continue to cook about 5 more degrees.
- Steak Temperatures: Rare = 125°-130°; Medium-Rare = 135°-140°; Medium = 145°-150°; Medium-Well = 150°-155°; Well = 160°-165°