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.