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Surf and Turf: Tips for Pairing Meat and Fish

There’s a reason surf and turf is often one of the most desired items on a restaurant menu — it’s because meat and fish are the perfect complement to each other!

January 21, 2020

The light flavor of fish and shellfish is a great addition to the richer, heartier flavor of meat. Especially when cooked with the right sauces, seasonings and preparation methods, pairing meat and fish can be a downright luxury.

We’ve rounding up some of our favorite combinations to inspire your next surf and turf dinner:

Bacon-wrapped Scallops

The sweetness of the scallops and the saltiness of the bacon is a match made in taste bud heaven.

Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo

While a traditional gumbo has many ingredients working together to make the classic dish, the sausage and shrimp are always the highlight — probably because the highly-seasoned sausage pairs exceptionally well with the mild-flavored shrimp.

Steak or Chicken With Crab

Whether stuffed inside the meat or piled on top, crab has a richness that brings out the juiciness of the meat.

Filet Mignon and Salmon

Small portions of both of these showstoppers topped with a delicate herb butter is a luxurious meal you won’t soon forget.

Chicken, Shrimp and Vegetable Kebabs

Fill a skewer with marinated chicken, peeled shrimp and hearty vegetables, like zucchini, mushrooms and onions, then grill and serve with rice.

Seafood, Chorizo and Chicken Paella

This Spanish favorite maximizes flavor and combines textures for a perfect mouthful in every single bite.

While these suggestions are all delicious, they are far from the only ways to pair meat and fish. When choosing your pairing, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a marinade, sauce or seasoning to “unite” the two entrees. For instance, you wouldn’t want to serve a citrus-flavored fish with a barbecue-seasoned steak. By treating both meats the same, you can create a “double entrée” that delivers flavor across two textures.
  • Consider texture. The “mouthfeel” of your dish is almost as important as the flavor. That’s why delicate seafood, like crab, goes so well with tougher meats, like steak.
  • Create a fun delivery. While you can certainly create a delicious dish that just has meat and fish on the plate as entrees, pairing these two types of protein in a fun delivery method — like on kebabs, in soup or in tacos — only serves to enhance the eating experience.
  • Find a wine that works with both. Just like your sauce or seasoning can unite the dish, so can your beverage. Look for a wine pairing that enhances both the flavor of your chosen meat and fish.

When it comes to choosing between meat and fish, why not have the best of both worlds? Treat yourself to one of these surf and turf inspired recipes above.

Shop meat and seafood.

You've always got a seat at our table.

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