LISTEN TO MF DOOM “MM..FOOD” ON SPOTIFY
This is part of the Cooking The Album project for MF DOOM’s MM..FOOD
Good healthy meal like the…fillet
Now that’s what they call…soul food
When I set out to make recipes for this album, I started by tackling the easy tracks first. Those titles that I already had a recipe (or something close) for in my library. That meant I worked the album out of track order which led me to miss the fact “Fillet-O-Rapper” is the first part of a suite that includes “Gumbo” and “Fig Leaf Bi-Carbonate.” This 5:11 section is, in fact, the only one COMPLETELY about food on MM..FOOD. It also functions as a sort of skit break mid-album which brings me to my issue with skits in hip-hop. I’m probably not the target audience, but I’m not a fan. Skit Breaks tend to be fairly lame and never really match the musical content of any given album. DOOM subverts the skit concept by building brilliant production tracks and assembling a story via found vocal samples. In many cases, that’s samples from old cartoons, but here he’s using some food industry records, a bit of in-studio scripted recording, and a list of soul food items from the blaxploitation flick Hell Up In Harlem. DOOM elevates the usual sort of album break/commentary out of the standard quagmire of lame jokes and bad writing.
This particular track is close to my heart as I once ran a BBQ joint and have professionally cooked every single dish named checked in the list. When I finally get this project published, I considering actually doing this menu minus the beets but adding this sandwich and throwing a party. If you’re in the Brooklyn area and would be interested, drop me a line.
Even though this track actually lays out a real full meal menu, I chose to go with the obvious inspiration of the title. I have no doubt MF DOOM is referring to a McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish and so that’s where I went. I’ve had the idea of a Fish&Chipwich on my To-Do list for quite a while and this seemed like the perfect time to make it. Yes, it’s a bit over the top prep-wise for a fish sandwich, but trust me it’s worth it.
An actual Filet-O-Fish has a burger bun, yellow American cheese, tartar sauce, and a fish brick. Let’s be honest, that ain’t no “fillet” of fish. Full disclosure: I haven’t had a Filet-O-Fish in decades. (Yeah – DECADES! So I’m old. SO WHAT!?!?) I do know intrinsically they are horrible, but there are two ingredients worth keeping for this upgrade.
First is American cheese. I know it gets a lot of hate, but it’s a fine processed food product for adding a salty melty punch to a sandwich. I prefer to go with white as opposed to yellow because why add extra chemicals to an already processed ingredient.
The second item to keep is the potato roll or burger bun. There is no reason for a bread upgrade here. A kaiser roll or brioche will not bring anything extra to the party and likely will just interfere. You want a nice squishy kind of plain bun strong enough to hold the ingredients, but mild enough to not get in the way. For me, that’s got to be a potato roll.
As for the rest of the ingredients, they need an upgrade. I like tartar sauce, but I LOVE remoulade. I consider it tartar sauce’s spicier Southern Cajun cousin. It also serves as a great substitute for mayo. Skip the frozen fish brick and get some fresh fish from your local monger. They’ll even portion it for you if you ask nicely. You won’t be making a breaded fish puck, you’ll be making a beer batter. You want a decent beer for the batter. Nothing too pricey but if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t use it.
Finally, the fries. I know McD’s does not put fries on their sandwich, but you certainly could if you ordered fries with your Filet-O-Fish. McDonald’s fries are decent (not as great now that they don’t fry in beef fat), but twice-fried fries (or “chips” if you’re an Anglophile) are better. The more fries you add, the more the structural integrity of the sandwich breaks down. I found 4 on the bottom and 4 on the top is the best balance. Place them running in opposite directions (bottom: left-right; top:front-back) for maximum balance.
Regardless of how you build this, it’s going to get messy.
Beer battered cod, twice-fried fries, remoulade, hot sauce, & American cheese on a potato roll
Makes 4 sandwiches
4 portions of Beer Battered Fish & Chips (see recipe below)
Remoulade (see recipe below)
8 slices American cheese
4 potato rolls
Begin by making the fish & chips and remoulade recipes below. This will form the filling for your sandwiches. To assemble the sandwiches, spread a tablespoon of remoulade on the bottom bun and top with a slice of cheese. Add a few fries, one piece of cod, and a few more fries. Place another slice of cheese over the fries on top, drizzle a tablespoon or so of remoulade on the cheese, a couple of dashes of hot sauce, and finish with the top bun. Repeat for the other three sandwiches. Serve any leftover fries on the side.
FISH & CHIPS
Makes 4 servings
2 medium russet potatoes
4 medium cod or haddock fillets (about 6-ounces each)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 cup Ale or Lager beer very cold (you may need a little more)
Vegetable oil (for frying)
Scrub the potatoes well, then cut into 1/4″ thick batons. Dry thoroughly with paper towels and leave them sitting on paper towels to allow the surface of the potatoes to dry out for about 30 minutes. You can skip this step if you’re pressed for time, but your potatoes won’t turn out as crisp.
Mix the flour, cornstarch, paprika, and onion powder in a medium bowl until well combined. Dust each fish fillet with the flour mixture on all sides.
Add 1 1/2″ of vegetable oil to a heavy-bottomed pot and heat to 330°F. Line a 2 wire racks with 2 layers of paper towels each.
Fry the potatoes in batches until a light tan color and the edges are just starting to brown. Transfer the fried chips to one prepared rack to drain.
When the potatoes are done frying, add the baking powder to the flour mixture and whisk together. Then add the cold beer and hot sauce to the flour mixture and lightly whisk together. It’s okay if there are still a few lumps, just make sure you do not overmix the batter or it will end up heavy.
Dip the fillets in the batter and fry them in batches. Flip the fillets over with tongs when you see the edges start to turn light brown. Transfer to the second prepared rack as they finish frying.
When the fish is done frying, increase the heat of the oil to 375 degrees F. Fry the chips a second time until they are golden brown and crisp. Drain on a rack and sprinkle with salt.
Fry the fish a second time at the higher temperature until golden brown. Drain on a rack. Serve the fish and chips with lemon wedges or vinegar.
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup hot sauce (I prefer Red Devil)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1 scallions, whites & greens diced fine
1 tablespoon Rock Candy Jalapenos, minced fine
1 teaspoon Rock Candy Jalapeno juice
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients on a medium bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine thoroughly. Store in the refrigerator.