I was born and raised in Syracuse, New York, and growing up, my ma often made a side dish called “salt potatoes.” After moving to California, I had no idea that salt potatoes hadn’t made it all the way to the west coast…. no one out here knows what the hell I’m talking about. Even the BF, who grew up in southern New York, had never heard of salt potatoes.
Well it looks like I have a perfect opportunity to introduce you to something so simple and amazing, you’ll wonder what the hell you’ve been doing without them this whole time. And then you’ll give me hugs for making your world just a little bit tastier.
Syracuse once had a booming salt industry (hence the nickname “The Salt City”) and rumor has it (according to the NY Times,) that workers would dump potatoes into boiling vats of super salty water to have for lunch.
So what, right? Oh how great Cathy, boiled potatoes. And I say how dare you! Boiled potatoes are water logged, gritty, sandy paste and bland mush. You have no idea how different and transformed salt potatoes become, just by the few slight differences in preparation.
First, the water in which you use to boil the potatoes is incredible salty; this salty water creates a magical, perfectly seasoned and creamy potato interior. Second, the outside of the potato is transformed: it is crusted in a dusting of sparkly salt, and is a vehicle for melted unsalted butter and tons of fresh chopped herbs.
In Syracuse, salt potatoes are sold in sacks, complete with the uncooked potatoes and a packet with the proper amount of salt. But anyone can make salt potatoes. All you need is small yellow (or white, or red) potatoes, kosher salt, and water.
Go ahead and click on this.. check out the creamy inside-y parts of that potato.
See? So simple, and so delicious.
I do miss Syracuse, all the time… the salt potatoes, Wegmans grocery stores, and the NY State Fair. I make sure to go home at least once a year to visit with family and friends, and to cram-in all the ‘Cuse I possibly can, before having to come back to Cali.