Italian Surf and Turf

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Italian Surf and Turf - Cuso Cuts

My Italian surf and turf recipe is a “hats off” to the amazing taste of Sicily and all things Mediterranean. The land is steeped in tradition and dotted with all manner of fresh food ready for harvesting. People frequently visit Sicily just for the food because of its uniqueness and regional wines.

Prawns vs. Shrimp

This recipe calls for Prawns, but if you cannot find them, large uncooked shrimp are perfectly acceptable instead. You can tell a shrimp from a prawn by looking at its claws. Shrimp have two, whereas prawns have claws on three pairs of their legs. And prawns are much bigger. Taste-wise, they’re pretty much the same, with prawn leaning slightly toward the sweeter side. Wild-caught shrimp is usually the best.

Italian Surf and Turf Octopus Ingredients

  • 1 Octopus (¾ pound per person)
  • 2 Lemons halved
  • 2 whole heads garlic, halved
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cracked pepper


  1. Place the Octopus in a large pot with enough room to cover it completely with water. 
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut the garlic and lemons in half. Put them into the pot with the octopus, olive oil, bay leaves, salt, and pepper.
  3. Bring the water to a simmer.
  4. After about 1 hour, the octopus should be ready. You can test it by using the tip of a paring knife on a thick tentacle. If it goes in easily, it’s ready.
  5. Take it out of the water, removing the head and beak
  6. Cut up the tentacles in grill-sized portions.
  7. When you’re ready to finish on the grill, they need 3 minutes per side.

Italian Surf and Turf Prawn Ingredients


  1. Marinate the prawn in olive oil, wine, and lemon for 20 minutes before you put them on the grill.
  2. Put over the heat.
  3. Sprinkle with either my Lemon Pepper Rub or the Smoky Garlic Buffalo Rub. The latter gives you a little kick. 
  4. Sear for 45 seconds on each side. The prawn should be translucent.
  5. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and drizzle with melted butter.

Beef Tenderloin Ingredients

  • ½ pound tenderloin steak per person
  • Rosemary (finely minced)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Lemon juice (fresh)


Note:  If you purchased a whole tenderloin, cut it into whatever size steaks you wish using a Chef’s Knife.

  1. Sprinkle the spices gently on both sides of the steaks. Go easy. Rosemary has a potent flavor.  
  2. Squeeze a little lemon on them.
  3. Sear for grill marks, then put the lid down.
  4. Cook for approximately 30 minutes until the center reaches 135F (medium rare)

Toasted Pinenut Pesto Chimichurri Sauce Ingredients

  • 5 c. fresh basil leaves
  • 5 cloves fresh garlic, peeled
  • ½ lemon juiced
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ½ c. fresh parmesan cheese
  • ½ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp (or more) red pepper flakes


  1. Put the pine nuts in a small bowl.
  2. Lightly drizzle some olive oil on them, followed by salt.
  3. Lay them evenly over a baking sheet, cooking for 5 minutes at 425F.
  4. Cool
  5. Place all remaining ingredients, but for basil, into a food processor or blender.
  6. Pulse so these combine.
  7. Add the basil.
  8. Puree.
  9. Taste test to adjust cheese and salt.
  10. Serve on the side of the surf and turf.

PitMaster’s Memo: The World’s Most Expensive Prawns

The Sicilian Red Prawn lives in the Mediterranean and is considered a highly sought-after delicacy. Because of the depth of the sea, fishermen face dangers in procuring the tasty morsel. This is why they are so expensive.

As the name implies, Sicilian Red Prawns have a red hue. Their aroma brings thoughts of the seashore, and their flavor is slightly sweet and a little smoky.



Broad Beans


Mediterranian fruit salad with walnuts (citron, orange, cherry, prickly pears, mulberries, etc.)

Peas with garlic and onion

Warm brioche with honey butter


From the Bar


Mint or Elderflower Spuma

Nero d’Avola

Peach-ginger Mule

Semedorato Sicilian Lager

Birra Messina  

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published