Surf & Turf Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 15 min.
This surf and turf recipe offers all the elegance of a steakhouse meal without leaving the house. Our recipe creates a perfectly seared filet mignon topped with herb butter, and a succulent lobster tail stuffed with lemony crumb topping.

Updated: Jul. 02, 2024

You’ll know when I’m in the mood for something special—and I mean, really special—when the surf and turf recipes come out. Between the cost and the decadence, surf and turf is not an everyday supper occurrence. But few meals are as memorable. The way that seafood’s sweet, briny flavor accentuates robust beef. The feel of the buttery, meltingly-tender filet mignon next to the firm, slightly chewy lobster. Tie them together with a fresh herb mixture that tastes like spring, and this meal becomes unforgettable.

Surf and turf might seem complicated, but it’s absolutely one of those restaurant meals you can make at home. Almost all components can be prepped in advance, and the actual cooking part only takes 15 minutes. The lobster bakes in the oven while the steak sears on the stovetop, and everything finishes at the same time for a stress-free dinner. Our recipe is designed to feed four but can easily be halved for date night or Valentine’s Day dinner.

What is surf and turf?

Surf and turf is a combination of meat and seafood served together on the same plate. Filet mignon and lobster are said to be the original surf and turf combination, but the dish can be made with other ingredients. The “surf” refers to the ocean and can be represented by lobster, crab, shrimp or scallops. The “turf” refers to the land. It’s generally represented by animals that feed on grass (cows). Choose any flavorful type of steak like filet mignon, ribeye or New York strip steak.

Ingredients for Surf and Turf

  • Beef tenderloin steaks: Steaks cut from the beef tenderloin are also called filet mignon, and they’re the traditional choice for surf and turf. These steaks are naturally tender and have almost no fat, giving them a delicate flavor and texture that pairs well with seafood. Before cooking the steaks, let them sit on the counter for about 30 minutes to help them cook more evenly.
  • Lobster tails: Unless you can get your hands on fresh (never frozen) lobster, I recommend buying frozen lobster tails. They’ll taste fresher and have a better texture when you thaw them at home. They defrost quickly, so pop them in the refrigerator the night before you need them.
  • Herb mixture: To make the herb mixture, the garlic is sauteed lightly to soften its pungent bite, giving it a slightly sweet edge. It’s mixed with fresh herbs like parsley and thyme, vibrant green onions and bright lemon zest. The mix is rounded out with salt, pepper and a touch of cayenne pepper for a hint of heat.
  • Butter: After mixing the butter with the herb mixture, let it chill in the refrigerator. It’ll firm up and slice into perfect butter coins, giving the dish a restaurant-worthy presentation.
  • Soft bread crumbs: The bread crumbs combine with melted butter and the herb mixture to create the crumb topping for the lobster tails.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the herb mixture

In a small skillet, saute the garlic in 2 teaspoons of oil until tender, and remove from the heat. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, green onions, thyme, lemon zest, salt, pepper, cayenne and sauteed garlic.

Step 2: Make the herb butter

Set aside 1/2 cup of the herb mixture for the crumb topping. Add the softened butter to the remaining herb mixture and mix well. Shape the butter into a 1-inch-thick log. Wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.

Step 3: Make the crumb topping

For the crumb topping, combine the bread crumbs, melted butter and reserved herb mixture. Set aside.

Step 4: Prepare the lobster tails

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Split the lobster tails in half lengthwise. With the cut side up, use scissors to cut along the edge of the shell and loosen the cartilage covering the tail meat from the shell. Remove and discard cartilage.

Editor’s Tip: If you’ve never prepared lobster tails before, check out the step-by-step images in our broiled lobster tail recipe.

Step 5: Bake the lobster tails

Place the lobster tails on a baking sheet, and top with the crumb topping. Bake, uncovered, until the meat is firm and opaque and the crumbs are golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Step 6: Cook the steaks

Meanwhile, sprinkle the steaks with coarse pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the steaks in the remaining oil until the meat reaches the desired doneness, four to five minutes on each side. A meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the steak should read:

  • Medium-rare: 135°
  • Medium: 140°
  • Medium-well: 145°

Editor’s Tip: These steaks will become dry and tough if overcooked, so pay attention to the meat’s internal temperature. The temperature will continue to rise as it rests, so pull the steaks when they’re 10° below the desired doneness. For more tips on cooking steak, check out our cast-iron steak recipe.

Step 7: Serve with butter

Unwrap the herb butter. Cut four 1/4-inch slices from the log. Place one slice on each steak. Serve with lobster.

Editor’s Tip: Rewrap the remaining butter, and store it in the refrigerator for one week (or in the freezer for up to three months). Use it in any recipe that uses regular butter, like mashed potatoes, buttered pasta or garlic bread.

Surf and Turf Variations

Can you make surf and turf in advance?

Surf and turf tastes best just after making it, but you can prep several components in advance. The herb mixture can be made up to four days ahead and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The herb butter lasts one week in the fridge or up to three months in the freezer.

How to Store Surf and Turf

Store leftover steak in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Remove the lobster meat from the shell, and store it in a separate container for up to three days.

Surf and Turf Tips

How do you know when the steak is done for surf and turf?

An instant-read meat thermometer is the best way to know when steak is finished cooking. For the best flavor and texture, I recommend cooking filet mignon to medium-rare (135°) to ensure the juiciest, most tender steak. Don’t forget to let the steak rest before slicing it, allowing the juices to redistribute within the meat.

Can you make surf and turf on the grill?

Steak and lobster cook well on the grill, so feel free to take the cooking outside with grilled surf and turf. A 1-inch-thick filet mignon should take seven to eight minutes to reach medium-rare, and the lobster tails will take closer to 10 to 12 minutes. The timing works out, though, because it gives the steaks time to rest while the lobster finishes. For specific grilling details, check out our recipes for grilled lobster tails and grilled steak.

What do you serve with surf and turf?

For a restaurant-style dinner, start the meal with a crisp Caesar salad and serve surf and turf with steakhouse sides like loaded baked potatoes and roasted asparagus. If you have room for dessert, you can’t go wrong with a rich chocolate mousse or any of these classic steakhouse desserts.

Surf and Turf

Prep Time 25 min
Cook Time 15 min
Yield 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 4 lobster tails (8 to 10 ounces each)
  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks (4 ounces each)
  • 4 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper

Directions

  1. In a small skillet, saute garlic in 2 teaspoons oil until tender; remove from the heat. In a small bowl, combine the parsley, green onions, thyme, lemon zest, salt, pepper, cayenne and reserved garlic. Set aside 1/2 cup for crumb topping.
  2. Add softened butter to remaining herb mixture; mix well. Shape into a 1-in.-thick log; wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
  3. For crumb topping, combine the bread crumbs, melted butter and reserved herb mixture; set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 375°. Split lobster tails in half lengthwise. With cut side up and using scissors, cut along the edge of shell to loosen the cartilage covering the tail meat from the shell; remove and discard cartilage.
  5. Place lobster tails on a baking sheet; top with reserved crumb topping. Bake, uncovered, until meat is firm and opaque and crumbs are golden brown, 15-20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, sprinkle steaks with coarse pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook steaks in remaining oil until meat reaches desired doneness, 4-5 minutes on each side (for medium-rare, a thermometer should read 135°; medium, 140°; medium-well, 145°).
  7. Unwrap herb butter; cut four 1/4-in. slices from log. Place 1 slice on each steak. Serve with lobster. Rewrap remaining butter; refrigerate for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 793 calories, 52g fat (26g saturated fat), 355mg cholesterol, 1289mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 69g protein.

For an intimate dinner with close friends, serve this stunning dinner of tenderloin steaks and lobster tail. Your guests will think they are dining at a fine restaurant when you serve them this surf and turf dish. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
Recipe Creator