‘Surf and turf’. It’s fun to say, even funner to eat — and one of the most lavish, luxurious dishes ever created. It first popped up on menus in the 1950s, when an unknown chef decided to pair beef and lobster on one plate. But, while making a meal out of seafood and steak was undoubtedly a decadent move, it also created perhaps the most gastronomically divisive dish ever put to table.
Why? Because many critics abhor the combination, arguing that a high price tag is all that connects the two ingredients. We disagree — and so does James Martin. The British chef recently embarked on a culinary tour of Britain’s islands and highlands, tasting local produce and creating meals with these quality, homegrown ingredients.
One such trip took him to the Isle of Skye. A rugged island in the Inner Hebrides archipelago, it’s a picturesque wilderness connected to mainland Scotland by the Skye Bridge. “It’s a mecca for tourists who love wildlife and countryside views like no other,” says Martin. “This is what happened to my mate Paul Rankin – he fell in love with the place and has just bought Skye’s oldest pub, The Stein Inn, right on the shore of the Waternish peninsula.
“A stone’s throw away is Loch Bay restaurant. Armed with a Michelin star, this tiny restaurant is run by husband and wife, Michael and Laurence Smith; together they have turned this small village into the Padstow of Scotland. Their food is made from ingredients that are – literally – on their doorstep, like lobster and langoustine. Go to Skye for the views – and for Loch Bay’s brilliant food!”
Below is Martin’s inspired recipe for Skye Lobster & Steak with Haggis Butter. Tangy, rich and with more flavour than you can shake a lobster tail at, it’s the ideal al fresco summer dish. Here’s how to make it…
Ingredients (serves six people)
- 2 x 200g Fillet Steaks
- Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- 1—2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- ½ Beef Oxo Stock Cube, crumbled
- Large bunch of Seaweed, well washed
- 3 x Lobsters, cut in half lengthways
- 6 x Langoustines
- 1 x Lemon, cut into wedges
For the Haggis Butter
- 500g softened Salted Butter
- 400g Haggis, crumbled
- 1 x Shallot, diced
- Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1. Place a griddle pan over a medium heat and heat until hot. Alternatively, light your BBQ. When the coals are silvery in colour, it’s ready to cook on.
2. Season the steaks and drizzle a little oil over each side. Place on the griddle pan or BBQ rack and cook for 2–3 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the crumbled stock cube over the uncooked side, then flip over and cook for a further 2 minutes.
4. While the steaks are cooking, mix the butter, haggis, shallot and chopped parsley together in a bowl, seasoning as you go, until combined.
5. Transfer the steaks to a board, dot a tablespoon of the haggis butter onto each one and set aside to rest.
6. Place a large, shallow paella-style pan over a medium heat or onto the BBQ.
7. Pile in the seaweed, then pour in 500ml water. Place the lobster halves on top, cut-side up, smother in the haggis butter and scatter over the parsley sprigs.
8. Cover the pan tightly with foil and let it steam bake for 7 minutes, then peel back the foil, add the langoustines to the pan, replace the foil and cook for a further 3 minutes.
9. To serve, remove the foil, slice the steak and add to the lobster pan, then garnish with the lemon wedges to squeeze over.