East Bay Street at High NoonThis past weekend, the wife and I were staying with some friends and visiting what ended up being a rainy day in Charleston, SC. Our friends recommend that we eat at the Hominy Grill. Time constraints though, and a desire to eat at the incredible Jestine’s Kitchen at the corner of Meeting and Wentworth streets, did not allow us to stop at the Hominy Grill.

In an amazing confluence of good food, networked servers, the Food Network and some ingenuity along the way, I did find a great recipe for Sesame Crusted Catfish with Geechee Peanut Sauce and Sauteed Okra from the Hominy Grill to serve to a guest the wife and I were hosting this week. The catfish breading fries as some of the best I have had, and the okra is not bad either. Lowcountry cuisine is outstanding to me, and if you enjoy it, the following is the recipe, or what we had for dinner last night.

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1 cup whole sesame seeds
2 cups cornmeal
Salt and pepper
4 catfish fillets, skinless
Peanut oil, for sauteeing
1 cup sliced okra
Geechee Peanut Sauce, recipe follows

Grind 1/2 cup sesame seeds in spice grinder into a rough powder. Leave the other 1/2 cup whole. Combine the sesame powder, sesame seeds, cornmeal, and salt and pepper and place in a shallow bowl.

Dredge catfish fillets in sesame-cornmeal mix and saute in hot peanut oil until golden brown. Remove catfish, keep warm. Empty skillet of oil and crusty cornmeal. Add new oil to hot pan and saute the fresh sliced okra until it becomes slightly brown, about 8 minutes.

Place the geechee sauce on the plate and put catfish fillets on top of that. Add another ladle of geechee sauce and put Sauteed okra on top.

Geechee Peanut Sauce

1 tablespoon bacon fat
1/4 cup small-diced green pepper
1/4 cup small-diced red pepper
1/2 cup small-diced celery
1 cup small-diced onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons red wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tablespoon brown roux, recipe follows
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 1/2 cups tomato puree

Sweat the peppers, celery, and onion in bacon fat until the onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add red wine and reduce by 1/3. Add tomato and stock. Whisk in roux and peanut butter. Check seasoning. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Yield: 8 servings

Brown Roux

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour

Melt the butter in a saute pan. When the butter is melted, add the flour and stir to combine. Cook slowly over low heat, stirring constantly, until the roux gets dark brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t rush it or the roux could burn and become bitter tasting.