Instead of reserving a table for two for this Valentine’s Day, how about whipping up a romantic steak and lobster dinner yourself? Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a highly skilled chef to pull it off. We’ve put together a simple guide to teach you how to perfect this surprisingly simple steak-house special at home.
Believe it or not, aside from the meat and seafood, you probably already have most of the ingredients you need to make surf and turf—butter, salt, pepper, lemon and maybe garlic. With that said, there are dozens of variations on flavorings and cooking methods to help you tailor the meal to your own taste. Let’s get into how to cook the meat, what kind of flavors you can add and so much more.
How to Cook Filet Mignon
Traditionally, the “turf” part of the combo is filet mignon. If splurging on this luscious cut isn’t in the cards, feel free to substitute in ribeye, sirloin or any other tender, juicy steak. Remove the steak from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking so it reaches room temperature. When you’re ready to cook, pat the steak all over with a dry paper towel, then season it generously on all sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. For an extra-flavorful addition, add your favorite herbs and spices to the rub.
To develop a delicious crust on the steak, you’ll want to sear it in a very hot cast iron skillet or heavy pan. To do this, heat a small amount of oil in a pan, then cook the steak 2 to 3 minutes without moving it. Flip and sear the other side the of the meat for the same amount of time. If the steak sticks to the pan when you’re trying to flip it, let it continue cooking another minute, then try flipping it again.
Once the outside is browned, the steak is almost finished. You can either continue cooking the steak in the pan, or transfer the pan and steaks to the oven, as demonstrated in this Filet Mignon with Brandy Peppercorn Sauce recipe.
If you prefer the flavor that comes with cooking with fire, we recommend throwing your steaks on the grill. You’ll want to skip the stove-top step and place the seasoned steaks directly on the hot grill grates. Enjoy this method by making Grilled Filet Mignon and Lobster Tail with Herbed Butter.
To know when the steaks are finished, you’ll want to insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the steak. Keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook as it rests. Follow this filet mignon temperature chart to measure doneness:
- Rare: 130°F
- Medium-rare: 135°F
- Medium: 145°F
- Medium well: 150°F
- Well done: 160°F
For more steak selections, browse our full collection of filet mignon recipes.
How to Cook Lobster Tail
Next is the “surf” part of the meal, which involves cooking lobster tails! The delicious sweetness of lobster meat is the perfect complement to the more robust flavor of steak. A little butter (plain or garlic), salt and pepper and plenty of lemon wedges are all you really need—but you can certainly also add any herbs and spices that you like.
You always want to cook fully thawed lobster tails. If the tails are frozen, place them in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. To thaw them on the counter, place the tails in cold water for 30 to 45 minutes or until you can easily bend them from one end to the other.
When you’re ready to cook the lobster tails, use a sharp, heavy knife or kitchen shears to cut the shell lengthwise, being careful to not cut through the meat underneath the shell. Cut until just before you reach the fanned-out tail portion. Gently pry open the two halves of the shell to fully expose the meat inside. Reaching
inside the shell, carefully lift the meat from the membrane, leaving a small bit of it attached to the tail end. If you notice a dark line down the middle of the meat, remove it. Finally, lay the meat back down inside the split shell.
How long to cook lobster tail depends on the size of the tail, but you’ll want to cook it approximately 1 minute per ounce. The lobster is done when the meat turns an opaque whitish-pink color or reaches an internal temperature of about 140°F. When you’re ready to get cooking, try one of these popular methods:
- Baked lobster tail: Cooked in the oven and ready in about 10 minutes, it doesn’t get much easier than this. Try this simple yet flavorful Broiled Lobster Tail Recipe.
- Grilled lobster tail: If you’re already grilling the steak, you might as well grill the lobster tails as well! Consider this Traditional Grilled Lobster for your romantic steak and lobster dinner.
How to Serve Surf & Turf
Set the lobster and steak side by side on a plate. For the lobster, include melted butter and a fresh lemon wedge. Because the flavors of surf and turf are so rich, stick with simple side dishes that’ll complement the meal rather than overpower it, like Gourmet Gold Potatoes or Green Beans with Mushroom Cream Sauce.
Since you’ve prepared a restaurant-worthy meal, you’ll want to set the atmosphere, too. Light candles, put on some soft music and enjoy a toast to your wonderful meal and the love that inspired it.
For more steak and lobster recipes, side dish inspiration or everyday eats, browse our Recipe Page. Or visit our Valentine’s Day Shop to finish your holiday planning, shop ingredients, order gifts and more.