On a restaurant menu, “surf and turf” usually means the standard pairing of lobster and filet mignon. We’re not complaining, but this land and sea concept can be applied to any seafood-and-beef combination, and the possibilities become greater when you consider the bright flavors and innovative cooking techniques of cuisines from around the world. Here are five creative surf and turf pairings you might want to consider next time you’re planning a special meal or assigning tasks for a potluck.
Peruvian Fish Ceviche + Thai Grilled-Beef Salad
The fish in our ceviche recipe “cooks” in the slightly acidic leche de tigre for 30 to 40 minutes, which is long enough to cook the beef in our Thai Grilled-Beef Salad. Both recipes include make-ahead components so you won’t be running between the kitchen and the grill, and together they make a light, fresh combination that would perfectly suit any summertime get-together.
Grilled Fish Tacos + Grilled Mojo-Marinated Skirt Steak
Our Grilled Fish Tacos were inspired by the bold flavors of southeastern Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. The grilled swordfish is topped with grilled pineapple salsa, avocado, and crunchy iceberg lettuce—toppings that also go well with thin strips of Grilled Mojo-Marinated Skirt Steak. We suggest offering both of these two protein options at your next cookout.
Grilled Shrimp and Vegetable Kebabs + Mexican-Style Grilled Steak (Carne Asada)
Shrimp and vegetable kebabs are notoriously difficult to cook because the shrimp inevitably overcook in the time it takes most vegetables to pass from raw to their crisp-tender ideal. Our recipe works by pairing slower-cooking jumbo shrimp with quick-cooking vegetables. The shrimp-and-vegetable skewers cook in just a few minutes, and the grill will still be hot for you to cook the steak.
Crispy Salt and Pepper Shrimp + Beef Stir-Fry with Bell Peppers and Black Pepper Sauce
As in many of the fast-cooking dishes commonly made in China and/or Vietnam, these two recipes are all about the importance of mise en place. Their ingredient lists might look hefty, but most of the items are ones you already have in your pantry or fridge. Plus, both recipes cook quickly. To simplify things, you could cook the shrimp first and eat it as an appetizer before preparing the steak.
Miso-Marinated Salmon + Pan-Seared Thick-Cut Strip Steaks
The Japanese technique of marinating fish in miso has become a popular restaurant preparation in this country, but the technique is quite simple and easily executed at home. Our Miso-Marinated Salmon recipe uses only four ingredients and is mostly make-ahead (the fish needs to marinate for at least six hours before a quick broil). This will leave you able to focus on cooking the steaks, which are versatile enough to pair with the salty-sweet salmon and any side dishes you choose to complete the meal.
What's your dream surf-and-turf combination? Let us know in the comments. And for more menu-planning inspiration, check out the recipes from our latest seasons of America's Test Kitchen TV.