Sunday, May 23, 2010

Salt potatoes

If you've never made salt potatoes, you're in for a treat. How do you turn regular old potatoes into something new and exciting? Loads of kosher salt!

I don't want to know what this does to your sodium levels, so let's just say this is something to eat in moderation and never to feed to a slug, okay?

Salt potatoes are credited to salt miners in the 1800's in New York, near Syracuse. As they boiled briny water to evaporate the water and then scrape up the salt, they would toss in their potatoes and cook them for lunch. Seems like a reasonable thing to do when you've got a bunch of heat just going to waste. Apparently it's the rage to serve them with butter. I tend not to serve anything with butter. Butter, in our house, gets kept in the freezer so it doesn't spoil and usually is only broken out to make a roux. In other words, butter just doesn't occur to me.

I read about salt potatoes in this month's edition of Food Network Magazine. Have I mentioned how much I love this magazine? Thanks, Mom! For that matter, thanks also to Uncle Richard and Patty, because they offered to get the subscription for us and had to be graciously turned down since Mom had already done it. Yay!

They are a snap to make. Start by scrubbing a pound of small potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, Ruby Red or (my favorite) Ruby Gold. I suppose you could use little white ones, too. These are all waxy type, which I tend to prefer, and I think work better in these recipes. Put them into a pot of heavily salted water. How heavily salted? 4 to 1, water to kosher salt. The salt brings the boiling point up and therefore the potatoes cook at a much higher temperature. This leaves the insides ultra creamy. Bring the potatoes to a boil, boil for 20 to 30 minutes (until they're done) then drain them into a colander and let them air dry. A yummy, salty crust will be on the potatoes.

They were great as-is, as the creamy insides cuts the saltiness of the outside. Darling Husband and I both agreed they would make awesome smashed potatoes, too.