Made famous back in the 1800’s, Salt potatoes are known as a regional specialty of Syracuse, New York, a.k.a. The Salt City. So simple and so tasty – only requires water, salt, potatoes, butter and herbs. The end result is a salty crust and a buttery finger licking “sauce” enhanced with a sprinkle of chopped fresh herbs.
One crucial note is to ONLY use small bite sized baby potatoes. This recipe won’t work with potatoes that are cut. There are those who say once you add herbs they are no longer salt potatoes and that you should only use golden potatoes. So if you want to remain true to tradition leave out the herbs and keep it golden! I use kosher salt because that’s what I mostly cook with. I also use a bit more salt than most other folks do, feel free to adjust to your personal tastes. As with most of my cooking I use whatever I have on the farm so this recipe was done with a rainbow mix of potatoes – magic mollies, keuka gold, red skin, russet, fingerlings, you get the idea!
Once the potatoes are cooked and strained that’s when the magic begins! The skin will shrink and shrivel and become delicate as the salt dries and the surface becomes crusty. While the skin is getting busy on the outside, inside the flesh is becoming all creamy and oh so tasty! The chemistry that happens is pretty amazing. I can’t stop picking at these they’re that good!!! Serve them up as an appetizer, or a side you just can’t go wrong!
Here’s the recipe:
3 Pounds baby new potatoes skins ON and scrubbed clean
1 1/2 Cups kosher salt
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter ( 1 Stick)
Fresh herbs chopped – I like parsley, thyme and rosemary. You can use any one of them or a blend of your choosing
You’ll need about 3 quarts of water (12 cups) maybe more. Stir salt into water until fully dissolved and there are no grains left at the bottom of the pot. Add the potatoes to the salted water (add more water if potatoes aren’t covered) and bring all this to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Takes about 20-25 minutes.
Drain the potatoes in a colander. While the potatoes are draining. Melt the butter in the same pot you cooked the potatoes in. Once butter is melted add potatoes back into pot. Gently toss with the butter, pour into a serving bowl and top with chopped herbs. Best eaten right away!
At the risk of being accused of being sacrilegious I have on occasion dressed these with pesto and a dollop of goat cheese, but seriously why? They are so good just the way they are!