Sesame crusted catfish with geechee peanut sauce

  • 200g whole sesame seeds
  • 220g polenta
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 catfish fillets, skinless
  • Groundnut oil, for sauteing
  • 225g sliced okra
  • Geechee peanut sauce, recipe follows
  • For the geechee peanut sauce
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat
  • 55g small-diced green capsicum
  • 55g small-diced red capsicum
  • 110g small-diced celery
  • 220g small-diced onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 2 tbsp red wine
  • 350ml tomato paste
  • 120ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp brown roux, recipe follows
  • 30g peanut butter
  • For the roux
  • 30g butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
1) Grind 100g of sesame seeds in spice grinder into a rough powder. Leave the other 100g whole. Combine the sesame powder, sesame seeds, polenta, salt and pepper and place in a shallow bowl.

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

3) Place the geechee sauce on the plate and put the catfish fillets on top. Add another ladle of geechee sauce and put sauteed okra on top.

For the geechee peanut sauce:
1) Sweat the capsicums, celery and onion in bacon fat until the onions are translucent. Season with salt and pepper. Add the red wine and reduce by one third.

2) Add the tomato and stock. Whisk in the roux and peanut butter. Check seasoning. Leave to simmer for 30 minutes.

For the roux:
1) 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.

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