Potatoes are the quintessential comfort food, whether mashed, baked, scalloped, roasted or boiled. Don't let all the salt in this central New York specialty scare you. Its purpose is to raise the boiling point of the water so the potatoes cook at a higher temperature. The result is perfectly seasoned potatoes with a creamy texture. Serve simply with melted butter or toss with fresh herbs for a great potato side dish.
- 5 pounds new potatoes (or any small, white, gold or red potato)
- 2 cups table salt (or 4 cups kosher salt)
- 5 1/2 quarts water
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter (cut into thin slices)
- Clean and rinse potatoes; reserve. Do not use large potatoes cut into smaller pieces for this recipe because the skins protect the potatoes from absorbing too much salt.
- Bring the salt and water to boil in a large kettle. Carefully add the potatoes. Boil until fork-tender, about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of potatoes.
- Drain the potatoes thoroughly in a colander. Transfer them back into the dry kettle and place over low heat. Toss in the butter and freshly ground black pepper to taste. When the butter is melted, toss everything together and serve.
- If you are making salt potatoes for a large group, spoon the potatoes into paper bowls, drizzle some extra butter over them and serve with toothpicks.
These salt potatoes also add the right heft to grilled flounder or halibut, fried cod or catfish. A green vegetable in minimal dress or doctored up with a cheesy sauce rounds out the menu.
Pair the beef meals with a big red wine like zinfandel, malbec, shiraz or cabernet sauvignon. If you're serving pork or chicken, generally a dry white wine is the most harmonious. Think sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio or chardonnay. Same goes for the seafood.
A classic and low-key American meal like this calls for a simple but memorable dessert that ends the meal with an explanation point. Some fancy options: chocolate-bourbon layer cake, caramel cake with buttercream or cream cheese frosting, carrot cake, French apple tart or caramel apple cheesecake.