Surf and turf can combine any foods from
each realm. Above, grilled salmon and a
poached egg from Cafe SFA in New York City.
We love surf and turf in all forms, and recently added this tasty dish from Cafe SFA to our list of unusual surf and turf combinations (below).
There’s a chicken egg, from the turf, and a fish filet from the surf.
Chef Alex Reyes topped grilled asparagus with a salmon fillet and a soft poached egg, garnished with asparagus puree, sesame hollandaise sauce, nori powder and green tea salt.
Create your own version of surf and turf, a 50-year-old concept that serves proteins from the land and sea on the same plate.
Although it started with a lobster and steak, any items from the realms of the earth and the sea can be combined into surf and turf. Clever Japanese chefs have even created surf and turf sushi, such as a lobster maki topped with torched tenderloin from Ten Prime Steak And Sushi in Providence, Rhode Island.
SURF & TURF HISTORY
While meat and seafood have been served at the same meal since since the dawn of plenty, and Diamond Jim Brady (1856-1917) famously consumed platters heaped with steaks and lobsters, the pairing known as surf and turf originated in 1960s America.
Some sources noted in FoodTimeline.org claim that the concept originated on the East Coast, based on a 1966 print 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.
Others say the West Coast has the honors: Food writers Jane and Michael Stern claim, 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.
The earliest earliest print reference found by Food Timeline, 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.”
Sorry, East Coasters: 1964 beats 1966.
And regardless, surf and turf became the darling of American steakhouse menus, combining the two most expensive items on the menu: lobster (surf) and steak or filet mignon (turf). It has its own food holiday, February 29th, National Surf & Turf Day.