Thursday, March 13, 2014

Syracuse Salt Potatoes – Lot's Wife Would Have Loved These

Not only is this Syracuse salt potatoes recipe one of the most delicious ways to cook baby spuds, it’s also one of the most interesting. I generally don’t like when people watch me cook their food, you know, in case anything gets dropped (#5secondrule), but these are kind of fun to do in front of guests; just to see that look of shock in their eyes, as you dump in all that salt. Amazingly, only a small amount of salt gets inside the potatoes, and by “small amount,” I mean “perfect amount.” 

This recipe really takes the guesswork out of seasoning. Of course, I could go into all the science behind why these don’t absorb too much salt, but that would mean having to learn it first, and then figure out how to explain it, which sounds like an awful lot of work. Instead, I’ll let my intrepid readers take wild guesses.

I mention in the video that these were invented by Irish salt miners, which is true, except I don’t think they used actual mines, but salt pools instead. Apparently digging is a lot harder than waiting for water to evaporate. Regardless, they used this abundant supply of salt to boil less-than-perfect quality new potatoes, and the rest is culinary history.

Regarding the amount of salt, I used a ratio of 1 cup of kosher salt to 5 cups of water. Believe it or not, this is actually less than traditionally used. Hey, we all don’t have salt factories in our backyards. A cup of the brand I use weighs about 6 ounces, which means if you’re using regular, fine table salt, you’ll need just over a half-cup to get the same amount of salt.

Anyway, other than having to sponge-up some salt speckles from the stovetop, this recipe is fast, easy, and truly unique. So, if you want to serve something this St. Paddy’s Day that truly celebrates Irish-American heritage, then I hope you give these salt potatoes a try. Enjoy!



Ingredients for 6 servings:
2 pounds of small new potatoes, scrubbed
5 cups of water
1 cup Kosher salt
melted butter

33 comments:

Nate said...

These make the most amazing home fries.

Jeremy Hale said...

What a terrible, terrible mistake it was watching this video when I'm trying to lower my carb intake.

Christopher Knight said...

Chef John, you are one of my favorite people. I hope my sense of humor grows up to be you some day. Also, your recipes always come out amazing for me. I have never had a bad meal by you. Thanks!

Parker Greenwood said...

I'm lucky to to be from Syracuse and have these available to me with prepackaged salt and the potatoes. The video definitely did it justice and I have to add how amazing these are during the BBQ season with some corn on the cob. We usually have a bowl of melted butter to served and everyone just dumps it over their potatoes.

supervillainsomeday said...

Syracuse native here. Since we just got through another big snowstorm, we're not ready for grilling weather yet--and won't be for probably at least a month. I miss me some salt potatoes and steak.

Chef John said...

I had no idea you were only allowed to eat this with food grilled outside! Who made that rule? ;)

Trevor Cole said...

I'm assuming we should be using UNSALTED butter?

Unknown said...

I'm so interested to learn about these--I've heard of (and made) salt-wrinkled potatoes from the Canary Islands (Papas Arrugadas), which sound exactly the same. Here's what About.com has to say: "Wrinkled potatoes is a typical dish of the Canary Islands, where potatoes have been cultivated since the 1600’s when they were first brought back to Spain by the conquistadores. The residents of the Canary Islands, called carnarios, call them papas - the native American name, while in the rest of Spain they are called patatas. This dish requires only two ingredients - small potatoes, rather than the huge monsters we’ve gotten used to seeing in the supermarkets, and coarse sea salt. Serve with the traditional Canary Islands sauce mojo picon or mojo cilantro as a side dish with fish or meat, or as an appetizer." That mojo cilantro is fantastic with them, by the way.

Jason Smith said...

Ahhh...from the land of the concrete sky;)

cookinmom said...

I do something very similar to my fresh garden green beans...salt heavily, nuke and then cold water bath to rinse, stop the cooking and to keep bright green color. When ready to eat just warm and serve! mmm...

Rita said...

how fun! instead of serving that with melted butter - that just gave me an idea of serving as patatas bravas with a twist. :)

thanks (again), and as always - have a lovely weekend!

Eric Eligator said...

Chef John -

Maybe the unique texture and creaminess of the potato comes from the higher boiling temperature of the extra-salty water?

Looking forward to making this for the family.

Beth said...

Could marble-sized potatoes be used, or would they be too salty?

Chef John said...

Should work!

Roberto said...

The "Five Second Rule" you mention is real, at least according to this:
http://time.com/23513/the-five-second-rule-is-real-and-works-best-on-carpet/

Apparently carpet is cleaner than tile.

Toshiko Suisei said...

Thanks Chef John! I boiled 2 small red potatoes this way, sliced them into wedges and arranged the wedges around our breakfast pizza featuring sunny-side-up eggs (with kalamata olives, roasted bell pepper and garlic, and mushrooms, all from the olive bar -- love olive bar!) on Wolfgang's dough that I learned from you. Tasty tatos =D

Now pls excuse me, I have to take my dogs for a BIG hike to work off that breakfast hehe

Steven said...

Could you partially cover to keep the salt from getting everywhere?

Mario said...

Hi chef John! These look great. I have a question though. Could it work with olive oil?
I'm greek and the sight of that bowl of melted butter makes me just a bit uncomfortable. Please advise:)

Margie Macdonald said...

I want to mash these. Is that ok?

Chef John said...

Of course not. ;)

mekman said...

I made these with red potatoes, (only small ones I could find) OMH they were yummy! I served them left over ribs and rotisserie chicken. AWESOME!

Golisneando said...

Hi Chef! Here in Canary Islands we have a very similar dish called "Papas Arrugadas" which means "wrinkled potatoes". You boil new potatoes with lots of salt and after draining you put them again on the heat and cover with a tea towel until the wrinkles appear all over the potatoes, this makes the texture really special.
We eat them with a sauce called Mojo (red or green) and the combination is perfect! you would love this spicy sauce.

Here you have the Mojo recipe :) http://www.food.com/recipe/mojo-picon-garlic-sauce-31699

Sandy said...

Former Syracuse resident here. I'm sadly now a Texan, but I try to represent my hometown wherever possible. For one, my house is all Stickley furniture, all the time. And, guess who wins the NCAA tournament in my bracket every single year? The Orangemen, that's who. This recipe is another great Syracuse thing I can use to impress/annoy my Texan friends. To appease them, I will probably serve this alongside a gigantic medium rare steak of some kind. :-)

Phyllis Palmer said...

HOLY MAGOLY!! Made these tonight with steak and a strawberry / goat cheese/ arugula salad...What an exciting side dish!! Specially if your guests watch you make them! A real treat and something unique, yet infinitely simple!! Thanks so much. New favorite recipe!

Jamie said...

Should I toss any potatoes with broken skin?

Chef John said...

I don't bother!

Ami said...

Made these last night with a roast - LIKE BUTTUH. Since I found your blog, my husband and I have both spoiled ourselves with the best food I've ever cooked in my entire life. Thanks!

Liza said...

We have mini purple potatos at my local grocer along with the red and gold. I bet they would be amazing in this also!

Liza said...

We have mini purple potatos at my local grocer along with the red and gold. I bet they would be amazing in this also!

Marie said...

AMAZING!!!!!

https://m.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10152394456406694&id=747236693&set=a.174516801693.152251.747236693&source=43

Koby Laffer said...

Amazing recipe as always by Chef John & I'm starting to follow this blog. Looks perfect for a Sunday treat.

goldpanman said...

Chef John,
I made this the other day with grilled marinated steaks. The potatoes were a big hit with the family. They came out just like you said, very creamy inside. Thanks for the recipe!

Randy Sieb said...

I finally made these and holy smokes who would have thunk right? It's just insane how different these potatoes taste. They are so good and so easy. I have a new favorite potato preparation now!! We served them whole and just mashed them once with a fork and added butter/salt/pepper. Simple and wow!!