What are the best sides for surf and turf? Surf and turf is a rich, luxurious main, so the best sides are plain starches, like roast potatoes, mac and cheese and colcannon. Contrast the decadent entrée with fresh, vibrant vegetables like braised peas and green ratatouille. Or add crunch, texture, and color with fruity, leafy salads.
You can’t beat a surf and turf platter for indulgence, whether you’ve got steak, lobster, scallops, or shrimp. With such a spectacular main dish, your sides should be simple and elegant, not competing flavor wise. Here are the best side dishes for surf and turf.
This traditional Irish dish combines fluffy mashed potatoes with soft cabbage, forming a mellow contrast with the steak, seafood, and buttery sauces.
These ordinary ingredients make a surprisingly delicious side that serves six people.
Begin by peeling and chopping two pounds of potatoes. Place them in a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
Next, pile two punches of chopped scallions and one small head of green cabbage, chopped into small pieces, on the potatoes.
Bring the vegetables to a boil and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
Once cooked, drain and return the vegetables to the saucepan.
Mash the mixture coarsely with ½ cup of warm cream, ½ cup of soft butter, a teaspoon of salt, and a hearty grinding of black pepper.
Italian Roast Potatoes
Roast potatoes are always a welcome side, no matter how luxurious the main dish is.
These potatoes are fragrant with garlic and thyme, which won’t overpower the surf and turf. They’ll take about 90 minutes, so plan ahead.
Start by preheating the oven to a hot 400⁰F (220⁰C).
Then, chop eight unpeeled, waxy potatoes into cubes and lay them in a large roasting pan.
Next, add cloves from a whole head of garlic, unpeeled. Sprinkle over 2½ teaspoons of dried thyme and half a cup of olive oil. Stir to coat the potatoes.
Roast the potatoes for an hour to an hour and a half until they are golden and crisp.
Serve sprinkled with salt and a diced fresh parsley.
Macajiki And Cheese
This unusual version of mac and cheese includes the sea-vegetable hijiki as a nod to the “surf” part of the entrée. It also includes tofu, which makes it extra nutritious.
The cheesy flavor is predominant, and the dish is loved by carnivores and vegetarians alike.
First, rinse the hijiki. Cook the hijiki with a pound of macaroni in boiling salted water.
Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of mild oil in a large saucepan. Sautée ½ cup of diced onion. After two minutes, add three crushed garlic cloves and a cup of finely chopped carrots.
After three minutes, add one diced red pepper, ½ pound of finely cubed firm tofu, and three tablespoons of soy sauce. Simmer until the vegetables are tender.
Once the pasta is done, drain and combine with the vegetables.
Finally, stir through ¾ cup of milk, ¾ cup of grated Parmesan cheese, and ½ cup of minced fresh parsley.
Gently braised peas simply cooked with scallions is a perfect side dish for a decadent main. Peas also add a splash of color and a vitamin boost. Make the peas as follows:
Put a pound of peas (fresh or frozen) in a medium saucepan with three cups of chicken stock, two ounces of finely chopped scallions, a tablespoon of butter, ¼ teaspoon of sugar, and a pinch of salt.
Bring the peas to a boil.
Once the peas are boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the peas are tender, stirring occasionally. This will take 15 to 25 minutes.
Season the veg and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley.
For an interesting variation on the traditional French ratatouille, try this lighter version with summery vegetables and white wine. Green ratatouille is an elegant dish but is straightforward to make.
Start by heating ¼ cup of olive oil in a large saucepan.
Fry 20 small pickling onions for about three minutes. Then add two sliced and seeded green peppers, two sliced eggplants, and eight thickly sliced zucchini.
Pour in a cup of dry white wine and cover the pan. Simmer gently over low heat.
Meanwhile, put 20 asparagus tips in a pot of boiling water and set them aside for five minutes. The asparagus should tenderize but not cook.
Once the vegetable mixture is crisp-tender, place it in a serving dish on a layer of arugula. Scatter over the asparagus tips and season.
Avocado And Mango Salad
Make individual plates of this beautiful salad to serve to each guest. The creamy avocado and sweet, juicy mango are a luscious addition to your turf and surf, adding flavor and color.
The acidic dressing helps to cut through the richness of the entrée.
You will need two ripe Hass avocados. First, halve, peel and slice the avocado vertically.
Drizzle the avocado with lemon juice to prevent discoloring.
Slice a ripe mango into vertical segments.
Next, combine a thinly sliced red onion, ½ cup of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Whisk together ½ cup of olive oil, two tablespoons of lemon juice, salt, and pepper for the dressing.
Toss half the dressing with three cups of arugula. Lay the leaves on salad plates and top with the avocado and mango slices.
Garnish with the marinated onion, spooning over the last of the dressing.
Bitter Leaves And Pomegranate Salad
This gorgeous red and purple salad combines bitter and sweet flavors, echoing the turf and surf combination. It’s fresh, bright, and full of crunch. It’s also effortless.
Tear two heads of chicory and one large head of radicchio into pieces and put them in a salad bowl.
Deseed and slice two red peppers and add them to the salad.
Sprinkle over a tub of pomegranate seeds.
For the dressing, whisk together a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, ½ teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of lime juice, a tablespoon of orange juice, and three tablespoons of olive oil. Season to taste.
Dress the salad and finish with a scattering of pomegranate seeds.
Corn And Tomato Salad
For a bright, summery salad, use the freshest tomatoes and corn, as frozen veg won’t work here.
This salad cools the palate and clears the rich butteriness of surf and turf. Make this colorful salad up to three hours ahead of eating.
First, blanch six cobs of sweet white corn. Once they have cooled, cut off the kernels.
Combine the corn with a large diced tomato, ½ finely chopped onion, and two tablespoons of shredded fresh basil.
Next, make a vinaigrette with ½ cup of red wine vinegar, one teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and a cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Lightly dress the salad.
Best Wine Pairings For Surf And Turf
Surf and turf is a wine pairing challenge – seafood traditionally pairs with white wine, while beef goes with a hearty red.
One approach is to serve both and allow your guests to choose either white or red (or both).
You’ll need a light-bodied, dry white wine to cut through the richness of steak, seafood, and the customary buttery sauce.
Choose a Chenin Blanc or a Chardonnay. Sauvignon Blanc is bold enough to serve with both steak and seafood.
The ideal wine for a meaty steak is a dry Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, a little heavy on the tannins for seafood. A compromise would be a Pinot Noir.
Alternatively, serve champagne – you must be celebrating if you’re serving surf and turf.
Best Sauces For Surf And Turf
The most straightforward sauce for surf and turf is lemon butter.
To make lemon butter sauce, melt four tablespoons of butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Simmer the butter, stirring to prevent it from burning.
Once the butter browns, stir in a teaspoon of lemon juice and season to taste.
Another delicious sauce for surf and turf is creamy garlic for dipping and drizzling.
Melt ⅓ cup of butter with four crushed garlic cloves until fragrant. Whisk in a tablespoon of flour.
Slowly add ⅔ cup of cream, whisking until the sauce is smooth. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens. Add freshly diced parsley.
This quick horseradish sauce is lovely with steak and gives rich seafood a bite.
Whisk together a cup of hot horseradish sauce with two tablespoons of sour cream. Peel and grate one small beet (preferably wearing gloves) into the sauce. Stir to combine.