About two years ago, I read Kim Severson's piece in the New York Times about salt potatoes. I remember thinking, "Those sound interesting. I should try them." Two years later, I finally did! (I am never one to rush!)
To be honest, I was surprised to learn that salt potatoes are a central New York dish. I'd never heard of the practice of boiling "new" potatoes in copious amounts of salt. Somehow this dish didn't make the 150 mile jump from Syracuse to Albany. I'm sorry it didn't! These potatoes are fantastic!
What makes these potatoes unique? The texture! Since heavily salted water has a higher boiling temperature than unsalted water, the starch in the potatoes is cooked more completely. I love tasty food science at work! The first bite of these potatoes was amazing! The interior really tender--almost like boiled potatoes, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes got together and created a baby! A tender, delicious, salt potato baby.
If you are worried, like I was, that these potatoes will be too salty, fear not. The salt is just right. And they are nowhere as salty as potato chips. To finish, I tossed the potatoes in melted butter and herbs.
Salt, potatoes, butter and herbs? Doesn't that sound great?
The water is so salty that as the potatoes boil you can see salt clinging to the pot. Nifty, right?
Boiled potatoes. The light white color on the potato skins is actually a thin salt coating.
The finished potatoes are coated with butter and herbs. Yum!
adapted from a recipe in the New York Times, August 22, 2008
10 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of kosher salt (Note from the NYT: Add another cup if using the Diamond Crystal brand)
3 pounds well-scrubbed small red or white potatoes (I used new white potatoes)
1/2 stick melted butter
Chopped fresh herbs, about a 1/4 cup (I used parsley and basil because it was what I had on-hand at the time.)
Bring the water and salt to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, add the potatoes.
Boil for 20 minutes or until for tender.
Drain and toss with butter and herbs. (If you don't want to toss with butter and herbs, you will be able to see the light salt crust on the potatoes.)