The classic Surf and Turf is a lobster tail and
a filet mignon. Photo courtesy
Now, we must ask: Why would anyone make Surf &Turf Day fall on February 29th? Should we celebrate this tasty holiday only once every four years?
Perhaps it’s put on Leap Day because of its ostentatiousness—it is, after all, a dish that combines the two most expensive dishes on the menu, lobster tail and filet mignon.
Of course, mankind has been combining meat and seafood in meals since the dawn of plenty. Fine dining establishments served both lobster and steak on the same plate in the last quarter of the 19th century. Diamond Jim Brady was just one of many gourmands whose table was laden with both beef and lobster.
But the disk known as Surf and Turf (or Surf ‘n’ Turf, to be even more vulgar), is an American invention.
The earliest earliest print reference found by FoodTimeline.org 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.”
However, there is a second claim, without printed proof, that the same dish by the same name was served at the Sky City restaurant, in the Space Needle, at the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.
The dish is called “Reef and Beef” in Australia. Evidently, ostentatious displays are not limited to the U.S.
Modern Riffs On Surf & Turf
Don”t be constrained by lobster and steak. Pick your favorite seafood and meats: crab cake, crab legs, scallops or shrimp with lamb chops or pork chops, for example.
Or, enjoy a hot dog in a bun paired with lobster, shrimp or tuna salad in a bun, a clam roll or lobster roll.
Fish and chips with a tasty sausage also has its appeal. As does crab cake and ribs.
We could fill the Leap Days for the rest of our life with different options, and not run out.
Happy Surf & Turf Day!
[Updated February 2012]