Most people think of South Africa and automatically assume that the nation is all about pap en vleis, but that’s just not true. As a versatile nation, it appears that we’re just as into our Surf and Turf as we are into our braaivleis, pap, and biltong! One thing is for sure, South African Surf and turf recipes don’t get nearly as much hullabaloo as they deserve…until today that is. We’re about to sing the praises of the best Surf and Turf recipes doing the rounds in our local communities (and abroad mind you).
Best Surf and Turf
What is Surf & Turf?
You probably already know this, but let’s take a quick look at what Surf and Turf is. Surf and Turf is a little bit of land and sea combined on one plate. It’s a combination of steak (turf) and seafood (surf), usually prawns, calamari, and mussels in South Africa. Overseas, the surf can include shrimp and lobster.
The dish originally hails from America where it was popular among the rich, who used to eat at “show restaurants” that was called Lobster Palaces, in the 19th Century. It was vastly popular until the early 1920s when it suddenly became unfashionable. It later became a hit again in the 1960s, when it was mentioned in the Los Angeles Times.
Gourmet SA surf & turf recipes Gordon Ramsay style
If Gordon Ramsay says it’s good and tasty, it must be, right?! Below is a Surf and Turf recipe, compliments of Gordon Ramsay, that you can South Africanise at home.
What you need:
- 200g filet steak
- 1 lobster tail (for South African style, substitute with 6 – 12 deveined and cleaned prawns)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of pepper
- 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
- 1 tablespoon of minced onion
- 3 tablespoons of cognac (for SA style, use brandy)
- 4 tablespoons of chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon of beef stock
- ½ cup of cream
- 1 tablespoon of grain mustard
- ½ tablespoon of saffron
- 3 turnips (for a more SA style, substitute with baby potatoes)
- 3 carrots
How to prepare the meat (turf):
- Season the steak with salt and pepper.
- Pour the olive oil into a frying pan and sear the meat for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, making sure that it doesn’t stick. The steak should be cooked medium-rare (or medium at a push).
- Add the minced garlic, butter, and 2 sprigs of thyme to the pan and baste the steak with it.
- Remove the steak from the pan and put it to one side to rest.
How to prepare the seasoning mix:
- Add the minced onion, garlic, and butter to the pan.
- Pour the cognac or brandy into the pan and flambé. Let it cook until the mixture turns syrupy.
- Add the chicken and beef stock, along with the cream and grain mustard to the pan.
How to prepare the seafood:
- While the steak rests, take the time to season the lobster (or prawns) with salt.
- Place the lobster (or prawns) into the butter and saffron mix and move it around to ensure that it’s well coated.
- Let it cook slowly on very low heat. This will ensure that the meat is tender and the flavours are well developed.
How to prepare the vegetables:
- Add the turnip (or potatoes), carrots, and seasoning mix into a mixing bowl. Coat the veggies in the seasoning well.
- Pour the veggies into a frying pan and add some butter. Caramelise the veggies. Remove from heat when they are becoming golden brown.
How to South Africanise Gordon Ramsay’s surf & turf dish
Of course, Gordon Ramsay knows what he is doing, but in South Africa, we simply do things differently. This is by far the best Surf and Turf recipe to try, but there are ways that you can South Africanize it a bit. Below are a few notes on how you can do that.
- Add calamari rings to the dish. You can grill or pan-fry them in the same seasoning sauce.
- Remove the turnips/potatoes from the dish and opt for slap chips. You can air fry the chips, deep fry the chips, or grill the chips in the oven.
- Serve the dish with tomato sauce, mustard, and mayonnaise (we love our sauces).
- Serve the dish with rice and a hot chakalaka sauce (you can heat tinned chakalaka).
- Cut the steak into strips instead of serving it as a whole piece.
- Add a generous amount of red chili to the seasoning sauce.
- Add a piece of boerewors to the turf options.
- Cook the entire dish on the braai. You can make the basting and seasoning sauces and baste the meat and seafood as it is cooking on the braai.
- Make a South African Surf and Turf sauce (recipe below).
These are just a few things you can do that will make the dish a little more South African.
How to make South African surf & turf sauce
A popular Surf and Turf sauce in South Africa is undoubtedly creamy mushroom sauce. Here’s how to whip one up in a jiffy, to accompany your Surf and Turf dish.
What you need:
- 100g of butter
- 1 large punnet of button mushrooms (chopped or sliced)
- 500ml of cream
- A generous splash of brandy
- 4 cloves of garlic (minced or grated)
- Salt and pepper to taste
What to do:
- In a frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat.
- Add the minced/grated garlic to the melted butter and fry until it starts to slightly change colour.
- Add the mushrooms to the melted butter and garlic and turn up the heat. Fry until the mushrooms are starting to brown.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- When most of the liquid has cooked away, pour the brandy into the pan.
- Now, grab a lighter and set the brandy alight. Stand back and watch the beauty. This should be done over very high heat. Let it flame for a minute and then remove it from heat. The flames will die down naturally.
- Add the cream to the frying pan, stir it in and return the pan to heat.
- Cook on low heat until the cream slightly thickens (this takes around 10 minutes).
- Give the sauce a taste to see if it needs any further seasoning.
Serve this sauce as a side dish when serving Surf and Turf It pairs well with any Surf and Turf recipes out there. Enjoy!
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