Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Binging with Babish: The Wire Special

Binging with Babish: The Wire Special

Lake trout. Like egg creams, in New York. No eggs, no cream. Exactly. No lake, no trout. (laughing) For another piece and some potato salad,
I’d go a few more. How’d you want that? Medium-rare, lot of horseradish. (Indistinct chatter) (Men placing their glasses down and groaning) Hey, what’s up guys? Welcome back to Binging with Babish, where this week, we’re taking a look at something wholly unrelated to the holidays, that is, the foods from The Wire. Which starts, first and foremost, with lake trout, and as Bunk says, “no lake, no trout.” This is Atlantic whiting. But whiting is a little bit hard to get ahold of,
so if you can’t find it, just use haddock, cod or halibut.
Despite hailing from Baltimore, this fish sports a semi-southern fry coat, with the dry batter composed of flour, cornmeal, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, and, most importantly, Old Bay (this is what takes it away from the south). Toss to combine and then it’s time to start building our wet batter, which starts with four cups of whole milk, 2 eggs (or only one if you only have two left and you need the other one for your breakfast beer later on) and some of the spices that we put in the dry brine. That is, garlic powder, onion powder, Old Bay and cayenne. We’re beating that together with a good old-fashioned fork, and then dredging our fish first in the wet batter, and then in the (you guessed it) dry batter.
My fryer’s a little small, so I’m gonna sort of do one after the other for the sake of efficiency, I don’t know. Make sure the fish is generously coated in the
dry batter before placing in some 350 degree Fahrenheit oil for 8 to 10 minutes
until golden brown and crisp. And now we’re gonna go back in time as I show you how to make thick cut french fries We’re gonna start by peeling some Russet potatoes (we want Russets because of their high starch content), and we’re going to cut them into thick steak fries, the kind that would accompany a meal like this. And then we are going to par fry them in some 350 degree Fahrenheit vegetable oil until they are just starting to turn blonde. We don’t want them turning fully brown,
just a little crisp around the edges. Then we’re going to drain them on a paper towel lined baking sheet, separating (so nobody’s lying on top of one another) and freezing for 24 hours until completely frozen through. At this point you can keep these fries frozen for up to three months, so you can have fresh fries whenever you fancy, but for now I want fries in my face forthwith. Sorry. Now we are refrying these for another five to seven minutes until golden brown and super crisp. Go ahead and let ’em drain for a few minutes before placing them in a large bowl with a healthy sprinkling of kosher salt
and givin’ em’ a good toss. Make sure you do this while the fries are still hot (otherwise the salt won’t stick). Now flashback forward in time to when I’ve just finished frying my fish and I’ve been keeping my fries warm in a low oven. Serving in the requisite styrofoam clamshell, with two slices of white sandwich bread and our lake trout over top, and, of course, a healthy smattering of hot sauce. And this stuff turned out pretty good, but as you
might have seen lake trout is inexplicably served with the bones still in it, leading to a few perilous mouthfuls for the untrained eater. So why don’t we try our hand at Wee-Bey’s personal favorite, pit beef with a lot of horseradish. Pit beef is made from cheap cuts like eye round
and bottom round so I’ve got an eye round roast here that I’m going to heavily salt, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours. This is going to significantly amp up the tenderness of an otherwise lean and cheap cut of beef. After its stead in the fridge, we’re going to brown it thoroughly on all sides in a very hot skillet with a little bit of vegetable oil. We need a good, caramelized crust on the outside of this piece of beef. Then, once it’s browned on all sides,
we’re going to hit it with a spice rub. Mostly seasoning salt with a little dash of freshly ground pepper and a nice shake of smoked paprika. This is going to bring a little bit of the smoke that we’re missing from what would have normally been grilled over charcoal if we’re talking about true Baltimore pit beef. Insert your meat thermometer (gross) into the thickest part of the roast, baking at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and a half until it registers 115 degrees internally (for a rosy medium-rare).
Now, in Baltimore they would be using a machine to slice
this as thin as possible, so we’re compensating with our overnight salt tenderizing and just slicing it as thin as we can with a very sharp knife. Piling it high atop a soft white sandwich roll, a few rings of white onion and, of course, way too much horseradish, because if you’re gonna cop to a bunch of bodies, you might as well clear out those nasal passages. That doesn’t make any sense, but hey. What’re you gonna to do? Here’s a nice cross-section. You can, of course, cook your beef to your liking, but if you cook it any more well-done than this, you are incorrect. You can tell I like a food on the show when I take a big bite and my hand shakes. Watch that. Heh. See? Well, as hearty as these two meals have been, none are quite so hearty as the quote-unquote “breakfast” enjoyed by the dockworkers In the kind of inferior season two. An egg cracked into a beer and a whiskey. Bottoms up. This meal’s really got it all when you think about it. Carbs. Protein. Booze. The building blocks of life, if you will. And I gotta say even though I did this at, like, 10 pm, I kind of felt the need for a big old nap afterwards. I couldn’t imagine going and working
on the docks after this. Ugh. As usual, this is all Ziggy’s fault.

100 comments on “Binging with Babish: The Wire Special

  1. "kind of inferior season 2".

    I thought that the first time I watched it because the cast switch was so jarring. Upon repeated viewing season two is the best season.

  2. Old Bay takes it away from the south? I put that on my corn and my beans earlier. We snort that shit down here.

  3. why are you guys so ignorant fact that Maryland is part of the south being a southern state has nothing to do with geographical location but rather if you supported the confederatcy or the northern yankees during the civil war, so yah baltimore is a southern city with southern style cooking.

  4. Am I the only one who is annoyed that the fried fish and fries from Baltimore is actually just fucking fish and chips.

  5. Used to work at a restaurant that put Old Bay as their seasoning of choice in the kitchen[Italian place, really good]. Ever sense, it's been my go-to seasoning mix for just about anything. And yea, it's AMAZING to use for anything fried.

  6. …Whiting hard to get ahold of? I work in a fish market and we have whiting every day. It's the number one thing we sell and the bane of my damn job.

  7. If you're gonna cop to slot of bodies, you might as well clear all those naval cavities 😂😂😂 only wire fans caught slot of his quips

  8. How do you sharpen your knifes
    Do you sharpen yourself or get professionally done
    If so by you what tools (stones?)

  9. I liked season 2, to me just kind of set the pace that each season would have a specific focus and kind of be it's own thing. Plus it was a good story Frank and Ziggy and what not.

  10. You always have good simple recipes. You and chef john from foodwishes are my go to guys. Keep up the good work man !!!

  11. I know this is years old but Highly recommend frying your French fries and instead of Salt, use Old Bay Seasoning…. True Maryland experience

  12. The superior temperature of meat: medium. Just the slightest amount more cooked than medium rare. Anything more and you’re eating a boot.

  13. Oddly enough, I’ve had the Pit Beef Sandwich at Chap’s . They use Martin’s Potato Rolls.

  14. Hey Babish please don't blame that fish coating on the South. We don't use eggs nor flour, only cornmeal, a lil cornstarch if you want a lighter crust and the seasoning go on the fish. Oh and all whiting and swai fish go in the trash

  15. I disagree on Season 2 being inferior. I used to think so. But after a recent re-watch of the series, season 2 watch actually really good.

  16. Okay, has anyone here tried the egg into the beer thing? I've only seen season one of the wire and I've never heard of this (if it's in season one I must have forgotten) but is this something people enjoy? I like eggs, I like beer, never thought of mixing them this way though

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