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Supper with the Lee Bros.

Supper with the Lee Bros.
July 2020

Matt Lee and Ted Lee share a Charleston-centric menu

Ted and Matt in the Tradd Street kitchen where they developed the recipes for their third cookbook, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen

Southern cooks have a way of elevating raw ingredients pulled from the dirt and plucked from the sea into tasteful dishes worthy of Grandma’s china. They work from the ground up. In the same manner, brothers Matt and Ted Lee have centered their careers in the traditional foodways of their childhood hometown, beginning with the humble goober. During the past 25 years, these New York-born, Charleston-bred Southern food aficionados have grown their mail-order boiled peanut catalogue into an award-winning culinary writing brand. Following three eponymous cookbooks, last year, the duo served up their first nonfiction book, Hotbox (Henry Holt and Co., 2019), treating readers to an entertaining ride through the scorching world of catering, a concept they’re now turning into a documentary series.

“Of all the elegant touches at Henry’s, our favorite was the iced crudite dish with an astonishingly good cheese spread.”

Saltworks: Matt prepares the salt and egg-white crust for the sheepshead, which is cooked whole. Slathered over the scales, the salt mixture will protect the fish’s delicate, sweet flesh and keep it extra moist as it bakes.

While this newest work veers from the regional food stories at the heart of their fame, Matt and Ted still regard Charleston as “that magical foodscape we call home.” This Lowcountry supper features recipes gleaned from The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, 2013). First up: their re-creation of the highly addictive “Henry’s Cheese Spread,” which was served alongside crudité on every table of the famed downtown restaurant Henry’s. Next, the cooks deliver an old-school okra soup and a shrimp and sausage creole over buttery Carolina Gold rice. The star of the meal is a whole sheepshead stuffed with aromatics and baked into an herbed salt crust. And what summer supper would be complete without the obligatory icebox dessert?