Steak Oscar Is The Surf-And-Turf Variation With A Saucy Spin

Surf and turf isn't a specific kind of entrée, but rather is an umbrella term that dates back to the 1960s and refers to a dish of meat — typically red — served in combination with seafood. (It's not to be confused with smurf and turf, which is steak with a side of Blue Moon ice cream and does not exist — we just made it up.) 

While a simple surf and turf dinner may consist of a sheet pan full of steaks and shrimp, more deluxe versions include lobster or crab. While the surf and turf elements often occupy separate parts of the plate, they can also be combined in a single dish, which is the case for steak Oscar.

Steak Oscar, which you may find on the menu at an old-school steakhouse, starts with steak, gets topped with a generous helping of lump crabmeat, and is finished with a saucy little Béarnaise. This dish may also be accompanied by asparagus since its bitter, vegetal taste pairs well with the rich, creamy sauce that complements the crab and steak combo.

The origins of steak Oscar

Perhaps the best-known Oscar, at least in the minds of anyone who grew up watching "Sesame Street," is a furry green monster who lives in a garbage can. If he were ever to get his own signature steak, it would probably be created by Guy Fieri and topped with the chef's infamous trash can nachos. Instead, the eponymous Oscar whose namesake steak we've been discussing is Oscar II, Sweden's reigning monarch in 1897, when the dish was created.

The original dish, however, was not made with steak. Instead, it was made with veal and, thus, called veal Oscar. In the fullness of time, people have started to steer clear of eating veal due to the cruel conditions under which it is produced. As of 2016, Americans consumed, on average, only 3 ounces of veal per year. 

Beyond that, veal tends to be expensive and may be harder to obtain than beef cut from older cows. While jolly old King Oscar might be disappointed by the switch to steak, the dish in its current incarnation is more accessible, affordable, and less objectionable than the original. It's also, if anything, more delicious, as the bolder flavor of the steak stands out in a more striking contrast to mild crab drenched in a creamy, flavorful sauce.