Surf and Turf.
A stunning, delicious, and totally do-able surf and turf dinner at home. Honey and chive butter glazed pan-seared filet mignon and lobster tails, a simple green salad with a honey lemon vinaigrette and an easy peanut butter honey chocolate mousse. This is a honey-inspired 3-course meal to make for your sweetheart this year. And, guaranteed, it’ll be better than any restaurant meal you could order on Valentine’s Day – or any other special occasion.
Thanks to my friends at Nature Nate’s for sponsoring this post and thanks to you, my readers, for supporting brands that help keep My Cape Cod Kitchen running. As always, all opinions are my own.
I’m not sure if we have ever gone out to dinner on Valentine’s Day. Even before covid. How about you? I found it was always a day to avoid dining out because every restaurant was overbooked, over-packed and over-stretched – which often meant less attentive service and just not the greatest meal. I think making dinner at home is the way to go on this Hallmark holiday.
This year, how about making your Valentine an extra special dinner – a classic surf and turf main of lobster tails and filet mignon. Your sweetheart is worth it.
So, grab a bottle of your favorite bubbly and get cooking!
WHAT IS SURF and TURF?
Surf and turf is simply a classic pairing of seafood (the “surf”) and red meat/land animal (the “turf) served together in one main course. The classic version of this dish includes pairing a lobster tail with filet mignon. However, there are no rules here and pretty much any type of surf and turf you choose to prepare will be delicious. Some other pairings include shrimp and steak, scallops and steak, crab cakes and steak, etc. Beef steak is most often used, but not exclusively.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this lobster and steak dinner:
For the surf and turf:
- Filet mignons
- Lobster tails
- Salt and pepper
- Compound butter (below)
- Splash of wine (whatever you’re drinking! we used rosé)
- Chopped parsley (optional)
For the chive honey compound butter (you’ll use this on the steak and lobster):
- Sea salted butter – we use Nellie’s
- Nature Nate’s honey
- Lemon zest
WHAT SHOULD YOU SERVE THIS SURF AND TURF WITH?
- A simple green salad with honey lemon vinaigrette (*I’ve included a simple recipe for this below)
- Sautéed green beans or veggie of choice
- Lemon wedges
- Whole grain rolls or grain of choice
- Additional chive honey butter
- Dessert! Honey Peanut Butter Mousse with Dark Chocolate Ganache (**I’ve included a simple recipe for this below as well)
- Champagne or sparkling rosé
And, if you’re looking for another seafood course to add to your menu, this oyster platter with wild blueberry mignonette is always an elegant and tasty option.
*To make the quick GREEN SALAD WITH HONEY LEMON VINAIGRETTE (serves 2; time: 5 minutes), combine 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, juice from 1 lemon, 1-2 teaspoons Nature Nate’s honey (to your taste), 1 clove minced garlic, ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper together in a mason jar and shake well to combine. Add 4 cups mixed greens, ¼ shaved Parmigiano Reggiano or Asiago and ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts to a large bowl. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Toss and serve.
**To make the HONEY PEANUT BUTTER MOUSSE WITH DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE (serves 2, time: 15 minutes), add ½ cup organic heavy whipping cream, ½ cup organic plain whole milk Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons Nature Nate’s honey, 2 tablespoons organic creamy natural peanut butter, salted and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract to a chipped mixing bowl. Whip with a hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy and light pillowy peaks form. Refrigerate mousse. (You can do this step ahead of time.) Make the ganache by adding ½ cup organic heavy whipping cream to a small saucepan over medium-low heat until just steaming – NOT boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and slowly stir in ½ cup dark chocolate chips. Whisk until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Line up two parfait glasses or stemless wine glasses. Drizzle chocolate mixture on the bottom of glasses. Layer each glass equally with peanut butter mousse then top with more chocolate mixture. Serve immediately. If you have extra ganache, store in a covered bowl in the fridge for up to a week and use for drizzling on vanilla ice cream.
STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS for making SURF and TURF:
- Make the chive honey compound butter by combining salted butter, honey and chives. Roll in plastic wrap or parchment. Refrigerate.
2. Remove the steaks from the fridge. Salt and pepper them generously and set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will help the steaks cook more evenly, as you won’t be adding a cold steak to a hot pan.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (After you pan-sear the steaks, you will finish them in the oven.)
4. Remove the lobster tails from the fridge. Cut them in half lengthwise and pat dry with a paper towel.
5. Add high heat oil (like safflower, avocado or canola) to a cast iron skillet. Heat the skillet on medium-high heat until very hot.
6. Blot the steaks very dry with paper towels. Don’t rub them, as that will brush off the salt and pepper.
7. Add the steaks to the cast-iron skillet. Sear on the first side for 2 minutes, flip and sear for an additional 2-3 minutes until a nice crust forms. Add 2 pats of chive butter to the skillet during the last 30 seconds of searing, spooning it over top the steaks.
8. CAREFULLY and using a kitchen mitt or towel, transfer the skillet to the oven. Cook for an additional 5-6 minutes or until desired doneness. Six minutes yielded us a perfectly medium cooked steak, so adjust cooking time according to that benchmark.
9. Remove skillet from oven, plate steak, tent with foil and let it rest 5 minutes.
10. Meanwhile, gently and carefully wipe out some of the oil from the skillet. Place skillet over medium heat.
11. Add the lobster tail halves, shell side down. Flip after 2-3 minutes. Add chive butter to the skillet during the last 30 seconds of cooking, along with a splash of wine (whatever you’re drinking!). Lobster meat should be cooked through and fully opaque and the shells should have turned bright red.
12. Remove lobster from heat and plate next to (or on top of) the steak. Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Add desired veggies to the plate.
13. Serve the surf and turf, salad, rolls, chive honey butter, lemon wedges and sparkling wine. Enjoy!
- Should you use fresh or frozen lobster?
For this recipe, I used frozen (and thawed) raw lobster tails purchased from Luke’s Lobster (Maine). Normally, I would use fresh lobster meat purchased from our local fish market, but to make this recipe accessible to those of you across the country, I went with frozen lobster tails. Certainly, if you have access to fresh lobster meat, use that.
- How did you thaw the frozen lobster tails?
Your frozen lobster tails will need about 24 hours to thaw in the fridge. Make sure you do this the day before you’re planning to cook them. Alternatively, you can place the frozen tails in a large bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to thaw, but the refrigerator method is preferred.
- Can you substitute another type of seafood for the lobster?
Of course, feel free to use your favorite seafood – scallops (bay or sea), shrimp or any type of fish would be great with the steak. You’ll just need to adjust cooking method and time accordingly. The chive honey butter will go well with any type of seafood. I used lobster here because that’s something that we love and it’s a true treat. I also polled my Instagram community to see what type of “surf” they would like with their “turf” and lobster was the winner.
- Can you use a different cut of beef?
Yes! Use whatever kind of steak you prefer. Just adjust cooking time (and method, if needed), accordingly. We love filet mignon because they are so tender, flavorful, lean – and the meat just melts in your mouth. Plus, the filet is a classic for surf and turf. It does tend to be the most expensive cut of meat though, so keep that in mind. To keep budget in check you could also share one filet mignon with your significant other versus preparing two.
- Do you have any time-saving tips to make this menu a bit quicker?
Yes! Here are a few short-cuts to make this dinner come together more quickly:
- Use a store-bought lemon vinaigrette for the salad instead of homemade. Add a teaspoon of honey for a touch of sweetness and body.
- Skip making the compound butter and instead, combine 1 stick of softened butter with 1 teaspoon of honey. Add to the skillet as directed in the cooking instructions.
- Purchase fully cooked lobster meat. While the steak is resting, heat the lobster meat in a skillet for 30-60 seconds with butter just to warm it through.
- You can make the following ahead of time, even the day before:
- Toast the walnuts
- Make the salad dressing
- Make the chive honey butter
- Make the peanut butter mousse
- How do you prevent the kitchen from completely smoking up when cooking the steak?
Good question. Open the windows and turn on the exhaust fan. And keep a close eye on your steak. In our experience, less smoke is created from filet mignons than with other more marbled cuts of meat. Even so, this cooking method creates quite a bit smoke. Also, when working with oil, high heat and meat, always make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy. Kitchen fires can happen easily and quickly.
If you’d prefer to not cook the steak and lobster indoors – grilling them is a great alternative, so consider that.
- Do you need to use a cast-iron skillet to cook the steak?
Nope! You can use any oven safe skillet (the key is oven safe). Cast-iron creates a beautiful crust on the steaks and this type of skillet heats and cooks more evenly (also retains heat for a longer duration), so it’s superior in cooking steaks than other skillets. That being said, you can still make a fantastic steak in a regular skillet.
- What wine should you serve with surf and turf?
We love a dry prosecco or champagne – or a sparkling rosé. Or, if you’re looking for a red, we like a full bodied Pinot Noir.
While this is not a “healthy” dinner per se, there are certainly some nutrition highlights worth mentioning:
- Lobster is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, copper, zinc, selenium and iodine. Lobster even contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Filet mignon is rich in protein, iron and B vitamins.
- The mixed green salad contains fiber, vitamins and minerals, as well as plant protein and omega 3 fats from the walnuts. Also, we’ve chosen to serve steamed green beans along with dinner, adding to the nutrient density of the meal.
- Honey contains vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy promoting antioxidants.
ABOUT NATURE NATE’S:
We buy Nature Nate’s honey because it’s the best tasting honey – sweet and clean. I love that they have tons of different offerings and sizes, depending on your needs. They have bottles, pouches, minis, spoonful of honey pouches, a new eco-friendly pouch and they have different types of honey, including raw and unfiltered, organic raw and unfiltered and honey + comb. There’s something for everyone.
Nature Nate’s also has a purity guarantee. Meaning every batch is tested internally and by a third party to guarantee their honey is just honey – nothing added – no pesticides or antibiotics. That’s a honey I can feel good about.
Look for Nature Nate’s honey at a grocer near you, or you can purchase it online.
Surf and Turf
For the chive honey butter
- 1 stick sea salt butter
- 1 teaspoon Nature Nate's honey
- 0.3 ounces chives (about half of a small clamshell), thinly sliced
- Zest of 1 lemon
For the steak and lobster
- 2 6 ounce filet mignons (2 6-ounce steaks)
- 2 5 ounce lobster tails if frozen, thawed (2 5-ounce tails)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon avocado oil or other high heat neutral oil
- Splash of wine
- Chopped parsley
- 4 tablespoons chive honey butter (above) divided
- In a small bowl, combine butter, chives and lemon zest. Mix well to combine. Scoop onto a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Roll the butter into a log and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to use, slice thinly. Store any remaining butter tightly wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.
- Place the steak on a plate and liberally salt and pepper both sides. Set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. Pat steaks very dry, this will ensure a nice crust forms.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add avocado (or other high heat cooking oil) to a cast-iron skillet (or other oven-safe skillet) over medium high heat on the stovetop. Add steaks to the hot skillet and sear for 2-3 minutes. Flip and sear for another 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the chive honey butter during the last 30 seconds, spooning the butter overtop the steaks as they cook. Remove skillet from stove-top (carefully, handle is HOT) and place into oven for another 5-8 minutes, depending on desired doneness. Six minutes yielded us a perfectly medium cooked steak, at an internal temperature of 135-140. Remember, temperature will continue to rise, about 5 degrees, after steaks are taken off the heat and resting. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of your steaks. NOTE: Be sure to use your kitchen and stove vent and even open your kitchen windows while cooking steak inside on the stovetop. The high heat and the steak will cause your kitchen to get smoky. If this is a problem, you can grill your steak and lobster outside. (Us New Englanders grill year-round.)
- Remove skillet carefully from the oven. Plate the steaks and set the skillet aside (you’ll use this for the lobster tails). Tent steaks with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. While the steaks are resting, cook the lobster tails.
- Cut the lobster tails in half (lengthwise) using a sharp knife. Wipe out the skillet slightly, if need be – careful -- it will still be hot. Place the skillet over medium heat. Add the lobster tail halves, shell side down. Flip after 2-3 minutes and add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet. Add a splash of wine, if desired. Lobster meat is cooked through when it is fully opaque and the shell turns a bright red. Remove from heat and plate next to or on top of the filet mignon.
- Sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve.
- Simple green salad with honey lemon vinaigrette
- Sautéed green beans or veggie of choice
- Lemon wedges
- Whole grain rolls or grain of choice
- Additional chive honey butter
- Champagne or sparkling rose
- Peanut Butter Mousse with Dark Chocolate Ganache
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