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Archive for February 28, 2014

FOOD FUN: Surf & Turf Sushi & More

While meat and seafood have been served at the same meal since since the dawn of plenty, and Diamond Jim Brady (1856-1917) consumed platters heaped with steaks and lobsters, the pairing known as surf and turf originated in 1960s America.

It became the darling of American steakhouse menus, combining the two most expensive items on the menu: lobster (surf) and filet mignon (turf). It has its own food holiday, February 29th, National Surf & Turf Day.

But we can’t wait until the next leap year, 2016, to share this treat: surf and turf sushi.

SURF & TURF HISTORY

The earliest earliest print reference found by FoodTimeline.org, our favorite reference source on the history of all things food, was published in the Eureka [California] Humboldt Standard of August 14, 1964: “An entrée in restaurants in Portland [Oregon] is called surf and turf—a combination of lobster and steak.”

 

sushi-tenderloin-lobster-maki-tenprimesteakandsushi-230

Luxury sushi: a lobster-avocado maki topped
with torched tenderloin, sweet eel sauce and
a garnish of togarishi and rice crisps. Photo
courtesy Ten Prime Steak And Sushi |
Providence.

 

Some sources claim that the concept originated on the East Coast, based on a 1966 print citation newspaper article in the Miami News. The columnist says that the restaurant La Hasta has created the best thing since lox and bagels—surf and turf; and that on some weekends the management had to take the dish off the menu, since demand exceeded supply.

Sorry, East Coasters: 1964 beats 1966.

Yet a third claim from a food writer couple, without printed proof, that the same dish by the same name was served at the Sky City restaurant in the Seattle Space Needle, at the 1962 World’s Fair. That may be, but documentation is required. If anybody remembers it from the World’s Fair: Please raise your hand. There’s a bonus if you have the menu.

Fun fact: The beef-seafood combo is called “Reef and Beef” in Australia.

THE NEW SURF & TURF

The original may have been lobster and filet mignon; but as long as there’s something from the surf and something from the turf, you’ve got surf and turf! We “invent” a different combination for our monthly surf and turf dinner. The past year’s pairings have included:

  • Clam roll and a hot dog
  • Crab cake and lamb chops
  • Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and Canadian bacon
  • Fish and chips with sliced sausage “chips” (heavy, but fun)
  • Fried oysters with a burger (make it edgier with a fish stick and tartar sauce)
  • Fried oysters with steak (or, garnish the steak with a raw oyster on the half shell)
  •  

    sushi-surf-and-turf-10primesteakandsushiprovidence-230sq

    Two rows of raw tenderloin-topped sushi,
    plated with yellowtail, eel and other seafood
    sushi we had to crop out. Photo courtesy Ten
    Prime Steak And Sushi | Providence.

     
  • Lobster roll and a chicken sausage, both in brioche buns
  • Oysters wrapped in bacon (an oldie, but still “surf and turf”)
  • Panko fried shrimp with chicken-fried steak (too much fried food for us)
  • Salmon or tuna grilled rare with rare filet mignon
  • Salmon tartare and steak tartare
  • Scallops with grilled lamb chop or pork chop
  • Shrimp and beef stir-fry (good but not as festive as the other variations)
  • Shrimp and poached chicken cocktail
  • Shrimp kabobs with grilled skirt steak
  • Shrimp tempura and pork tenderloin
  • Sliced grilled tuna and sliced breast of chicken
  •  
    And now, we’ve discovered surf and turf sushi from Ten Prime Steak And Sushi in Providence.

    Our maki-rolling skills are rusty, but we’ll try it right after we master our March recipe, surf and turf meat loaf. (So far, ground chicken and whole baby scallops are the mix of choice.)

    MIX & MATCH

    You could fill every day of the year with a different option and not run out (and if anyone decides to start a restaurant based on that concept, send a hefty ideation fee here).

    Pick your favorite seafood and meats: crab cake, crab legs, scallops or shrimp with lamb chops or pork chops, for example.

  • Surf: any fish or shellfish. Think outside the lobster box to caviar/roe, clams, crab, crawfish, eel, escargot, grilled tuna, mussels, octopus, oysters, shrimp, squid, sushi/sashimi, uni (sea urchin). Grilled cod or halibut stand up well to beef and pork.
  • Turf: bacon (and the bacon group: Canadian bacon, prosciutto, serrano ham, etc.), beef, bison, exotics (boar, elk, ostrich), lamb, ham, poultry, pork in their many forms: grilled, roasted, ground, ribs, sausage, etc.
  •  
    And props to Allen Brothers, purveyor of prime meats to restaurants and the public, for the idea of creating the surf-topped filet mignon. The company topped filet mignon with a crown of lobster “stuffing” (chopped lobster, fresh herbs (try tarragon or thyme), scallions, cream, butter, sweet onions, bread crumbs and a touch of garlic), as well as a lump crab meat version with mozzarella, chopped spinach, garlic and rosemary. (You’ll have to make your own, though; the company has updated the product with new, non-surf, toppings.)

    Try your own hand at the new surf and turf and let us know your favorites.
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Stuffed Peppers

    Stuffed peppers are enjoyed in cultures around the world. They’re a versatile food: for a first course, a light lunch or dinner or a side. You can stuff them with anything, including leftovers. And you can find them in “holiday colors,” from red and green for Christmas to purple, gold and green for St. Patrick’s Day.

    A large pepper* is hollowed out (removing the ribs and seeds), stuffed and baked. The same technique is applied to eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and other vegetables.

    In more recent recipes, small stuffed peppers are served as hors d’oeuvre and snacks:

  • Baby bell peppers, cooked or raw, are stuffed with soft cheese or other ingredients.
  • Jalapeño poppers stuff the bite-size chiles with a mixture of cheese, spices, and sometimes ground meat; they are then deep fried (recipe).
  •  
    *We find it easier to use shorter, wider peppers rather than taller, narrower ones.
     
    STUFFED PEPPERS AROUND THE WORLD

    Get inspiration for your own recipes from these:

  • India: Bharvan mirch stuffs bell peppers stuffed with cooked meat, potatoes and onions, seasoned with chili, cilantro, coriander, lemon juice and turmeric. Mirchi bajji, a street food, is a large green chile stuffed with a roasted, spiced flour mix, sometimes battered, and then fried.
  •  

    wfm_stuffed-pepper-230

    Stuffed peppers are a global favorite. Photo courtesy Whole Foods Markets. Try this recipe stuffed with quinoa.

     

  • Mediterranean: Greek food fans know that dolma are stuffed grape leaves; but peppers and other vegetables are stuffed in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey. In Greek yemista, bell peppers are stuffed and baked with a rice and herb filling. In Tunisia, filfil mahshi are stuffed with spiced rice and ground beef or lamb.
  • Mexico: Chiles rellenos are made with roasted green Pasilla or poblano peppers stuffed with queso fresco cheese and sometimes minced meat, covered in an egg batter and fried.
  • Scandinavia, The Baltic States & The Balkans: Peppers are stuffed in a way familiar to Americans, with ground beef or pork, rice, vegetables and spices. In Bulgaria, stuffed peppers are usually eaten with yogurt.
  • Spain: Pimientos rellenos, a Basque specialty, stuff piquillo peppers with cod in a béchamel sauce, ground beef or Manchego cheese.
  •  

    Mediterranean-Style-Stuffed-Peppers-mccormick-230

    Peppers stuffed with lamb and feta. Photo
    and recipe courtesy McCormick.

     

    RECIPE: MEDITERRANEAN STYLE STUFFED PEPPERS

    The delicious stuffing features ground beef, brown rice, golden raisins and almonds seasoned with flavorful, aromatic spices. The recipe is also different because it slices the peppers in half, vertically, rather than cutting off the top to create a deep dish.

    Prep Time is 10 minutes, cook time is 1 hour, 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 8 Servings

  • 2 teaspoons rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon oregano Leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or lamb
  • 1 can (14 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins (you can substitute conventional raisins)
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 medium green bell peppers, halved lengthwise, stem and seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
  •  
    Preparation

    1. HEAT oven to 375°F. Mix rosemary, cinnamon, oregano and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

    2. COOK ground meat in a large skillet over medium-high heat, 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally to break up meat. Drain fat. Add spice mixture; cook and stir 1 minute.

    3. STIR in tomato sauce, raisins and almonds. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Add rice and egg; mix well. Arrange bell pepper halves, cut-side up, in 13×9-inch baking dish. Spoon beef mixture evenly into bell pepper halves. Pour 1/4 cup water into dish. Cover with foil.

    4. BAKE 45 minutes or until bell peppers are tender. Sprinkle filling with feta cheese. Bake, uncovered, 12 to 15 minutes longer or until cheese is lightly browned.
     
    RECIPE TEMPLATE: MIX & MATCH

  • Beans and legumes: black beans, white beans, lentils, etc.
  • Grains: barley, corn, rice, quinoa and breadcrumbs
  • Nuts & fruits: cashews, pine nuts or other nuts; apricot, currants, dried cherries or cranberries, prunes, raisins
  • Proteins: cheese; chicken, beef, pork or other meat, ground or diced; egg; sausage; seafood; tofu
  • Vegetables: anything and everything, cut small enough to cook evenly. Ideas: grated carrots, edamame, kale, mushrooms, onions, potatoes (diced or mashed), spinach, squash
  • Herbs: cilantro, dill, mint, parsley, oregano
  • Spices: cinnamon, cumin, curry
  •  
    Why don’t we include fish? While the Basque cod-stuffed pepper is very popular, and brandade (mashed cod in olive oil) works, we haven’t found other recipes that really sing. The delicate flavors of most fish (or shellfish) get buried.

    If you have a great recipe, we’d like to try it.

      

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