surf and turf recipes

11 Surf and Turf Recipe Ideas For All Occasions

Last Updated on April 11, 2022

Are you thinking about preparing surf and turf recipes? The surf (seafood) and the turf (meat) can both be substantial meals on their own. So, combining them makes for a rich meal, often considered for special occasions only. But that doesn’t have to be the case.

“Surf and Turf” – Where Did It Come From?

This classic seafood and red meat pairing is served in steakhouses throughout North America, as well as in the United Kingdom and Australia. But there’s no need for a fancy restaurant or complex recipe. We have a guide for you to put together a fantastic surf and turf meal in your own kitchen.

The origin of the term “surf and turf” is unclear, though the earliest known citation stems from the Los Angeles Times in 1961. It’s long been a symbol of middle and upper-class Americana to pair steak and lobster, or some other variation.

Keeping Surf and Turf Recipes Simple

We think steak and lobster are great, but if you’re looking to prepare a surf and turf meal at home, we’ve compiled surf and turf recipes that are way more accessible.

Here are a few surf and turf recipe combinations we suggest:

  • Bacon-wrapped filet with pan-seared scallops
  • Garlic-crusted ribeye with Paleo salmon cakes
  • Tri-tip with chimichurri and pan-seared salmon with radish apple salad
  • 5-minute marinade NY Strip with seared scallops and bacon lemon cream sauce
  • One-pan filet mignon and veggies with salmon croquettes

You’ll find all of these recipes, plus some side dish ideas, on the list below. You can, of course, mix and match these recipes however you see fit. Enjoy your surf and turf dinner!

Surf and Turf Recipes: “The Surf” or Seafood

salmon croquettes

These salmon croquettes are great surf and turf recipe staples

1 – Salmon Croquettes with Remoulade

Looking to add a crispy bite to your surf and turf meal? Skip the deep-fried shrimp and try these Salmon croquettes with remoulade.

Flavor is built into every step of this surf and turf recipe, from the white wine-poached salmon to the tarragon-packed batter. Don’t forget the tangy, creamy remoulade, made with capers, pickles, lemon juice, mayo, and more.

All that layering of flavors makes for a bold bite, but these aren’t difficult to whip up. They’re ready in just 30 minutes.

  • 19 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes

2 – Seared Scallops with Bacon Lemon Cream Sauce

The perfect, succulent appetizer to start your surf and turf meal, these seared scallops with bacon lemon cream sauce are deceptively simple to prepare.

You’ll only need a handful of ingredients: sea scallops, bacon, lemon, cream, salt, pepper, and your preferred cooking fat.

Simple to make as they may be, the pairing of juicy scallops, crisp bacon, and vibrant lemon cream sauce makes for a beautifully complex flavor profile. You won’t regret making these.

  • 7 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Diet: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Keto

3 – Easy Butter-Poached Lobster

easy butter poached lobster

Surf and turf recipes like this butter-poached lobster make the seafood component of the meal super simple (10 minute cook time!) and tasty.

Lobster is the perfect seafood to pair with a steak for a great surf and turf meal. This surf and turf recipe is easy to follow, simple to make, and results in delicious, buttery lobster.

The butter-poached lobster recipe uses ButcherBox lobster claw and knuckle meat and pairs perfectly with a filet mignon, NY strip steak, or ribeye.

  • 4 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 10 Minutes
  • Diet: Gluten Free, Keto

4 – Pan-Seared Salmon with Green Goddess Dressing and Radish Apple Salad

Salad course? Seafood? Kill two surf and turf birds with one stone with this pan-seared salmon with green goddess dressing and radish apple salad. It’s the perfect, light and bright surf and turf recipe.

Crispy, sweet, and refreshing, this radish apple salad is delectable once dressed with a greens-packed dressing. We’re talking fresh tarragon, fresh parsley, and chives with a tangy yogurt base.

The salmon is marinated with the same blend of herbs, making this dish a vibrant one to counteract the heartiness of steak.

  • 20 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • Diet: Gluten Free

5 – Simple Pan-Seared Scallops


This surf and turf recipe for seared scallops will teach you the perfect way to prepare a seafood staple. 

Sometimes, surf and turf doesn’t have to be a big affair. These simple pan-seared scallops add a bright seafood dish to your spread, with very little effort.

To make these, simply season your scallops with salt and pepper and sear in your favorite high-temp cooking fat. For absolute, to-die-for richness, make a quick pan sauce with butter, garlic, ginger, Fresno pepper, lemon juice, and fresh parsley.

  • 10 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 5 Minutes

6 – Paleo Salmon Cakes

You’ve had crab cakes, but if you haven’t yet whipped up these Paleo salmon cakes, the time is now. And while you’ve maybe never thought of a salmon cake as the seafood component for a surf and turf recipe, we’ll convince you to try.

These cakes or patties don’t rely on canned anything—they’re made with wild Alaskan sockeye salmon and are absolutely packed with flavor. You can thank the blend of red bell pepper, scallions, Paleo bread crumbs (or almond flour), mayo, and Dijon for that.

These salmon cakes cook up quickly—they’re ready in 15 minutes flat. Once again, surf and turf doesn’t have to be hard.

  • 9 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 15 Minutes
  • Diet: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Keto, Paleo, Whole30

Surf and Turf Recipes: “The Turf” or Meat

tri-tip chimichurriJuicy rare chimichurri verde grilled steak and red potatoes is the perfect surf and turf recipe pairing.

7 – Tri-Tip with Poblano-Lime Chimichurri

Need to feed a crowd, and still want to serve surf and turf? Opt for a larger beef roast, like this tri-tip with poblano-lime chimichurri.

Lean and mild, tri-tip is perfectly complemented by a spicy, bold sauce like chimichurri. The vibrant green sauce pairs well with the seafood side of your meal, too.

This tri-tip surf and turf recipe does need a little advance prep: Just remember to salt it and let it sit, uncovered, in the refrigerator overnight. From there, you’ll just sear and roast the cut.

The chimichurri takes minutes to prepare: Just combine garlic, poblano pepper, cilantro, parsley, lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pro tip: Make this one day ahead of time to let the flavors really meld.

  • 11 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 1 Day 40 Minutes
  • Diet: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Keto, Paleo, Whole30

8 – NY Strip with 5-Minute Marinade and Bruschetta Salad

What’s more classic than NY strip steak and seafood? With this NY strip with a 5-minute marinade and bruschetta salad recipe, you’ll get a delectable salad, too.

The 5-minute marinade does double duty as the salad dressing. To make the easy marinade/dressing, combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, garlic, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.

Let the steaks marinate for 5 minutes, then quickly sear them and finish them off in the oven. The salad, with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and croutons, comes together just as fast.

  • 16 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 25 Minutes
  • Diet: Gluten Free, Keto

9 – One-Pan Filet Mignon with Rosemary Brown Butter and Sautéed Veggies

filet mignon with brown butter recipe

A filet mignon is the classic and higher-end “turf” meat choice for any surf and turf recipe.

It wouldn’t be a surf and turf list without a couple of indulgent cuts, like filet mignon. We especially love this elegant one-pan filet mignon with rosemary brown butter and sauteed veggies.

Made in just one pan, this dish maximizes flavor with each step. You’ll find brown butter and rosemary flavors the filet mignon and roasted carrots, while the sauteed Brussels sprouts and peas soak up some of that nutty, buttery goodness too.

  • 11 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 50 Minutes
  • Diet: Gluten Free

10 – Bacon-Wrapped Filet with Buttermilk Smashed Potatoes and Mushroom Red Wine Sauce

Ready for a seriously decadent meal? This bacon-wrapped filet with buttermilk smashed potatoes and mushroom red wine sauce surf and turf recipe is perfect for a date night in.

Tender filet gets wrapped with smoky bacon, served atop creamy smashed potatoes (with way more texture than their mashed counterpart). Drizzle the whole thing with a rich mushroom and red wine pan sauce.

If you’d like to continue the theme of indulgence, pair this with a scallop recipe from this list. Lighten things up with the pan-seared salmon and radish apple salad.

  • 14 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 45 Minutes
  • Diet: Gluten Free

11 – Garlic Crusted Ribeye with Smoky Hazelnut Scalloped Potatoes

Have you tasted a delicious steak encrusted in garlic? This garlic crusted ribeye with smoke hazelnut scalloped potatoes surf and turf recipe will make you a convert.

All you need is garlic, ghee, olive oil, salt, pepper, and some ribeye steaks. You’ll first roast your garlic, turning it into an intensely flavorful paste for the steaks. That’s all it takes to build bold garlicky notes with a hint of sweetness.

Don’t skip the smoky hazelnut scalloped potatoes, which are complete with Yukon gold potatoes, pancetta, and hazelnuts.

  • 14 Ingredients
  • Total Time: 40 Minutes
  • Diet: Dairy Free, Gluten Free

For more recipe hauls and tips for cooking at-home meals, check out the JustCook blog!

Courtney Hamilton is a writer and editor with over seven years' experience in journalism, blogging, communications, and other media. She has written for publications like PaleoHacks, PaleoPlan, The Center for American Progress, OC Weekly, and more. 
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