When you’re growing up, you don’t realize that something that you think is a common dish and have been eating all your life, people in other parts of the world or even in the same country have never even heard of. It’s almost like when you get married and find out that your spouse’s family did things very much unlike your own family:). What? Not every family is loud and emotional? No way! Ha ha!
Not only are there worldwide cuisines, such as the well loved French, Italian, Greek or many other, there are also regional favorites in every country. We are all aware that America has many regional classics too, such as different barbecue methods for example. I grew up in Central New York and there are so many wonderful recipes from this great part of this country that are my favorites to this day.
Salt potatoes are a classic in Upstate New York, and are especially loved during the summer months. As the gardens start to grow and the little baby potatoes are harvested, it’s the perfect time to bring out the salt, cook these potatoes and serve them with fresh garden herbs. Syracuse has a history of producing salt for a long time. Instead of a sandwich, the mine workers would bring a portion of small potatoes wrapped in newspaper or a small bag and cook them in the available salty water. These salty, creamy potatoes which started out as a cheap and convenient lunch staple, soon became a regional favorite.
Water that is heavily salted boils a lot faster, which means the potatoes are extra creamy on the inside. With the astonishing amount of salt, you would expect the potatoes to be uber salty, but they actually aren’t. The outside of the potatoes have a salty exterior, but as you bite into the potatoes, they’re not salty in the least. The cooked potatoes have an ashy white coating from the abundance of salt that they cooked in, and give these potatoes their signature look. Served with melted butter and a sprinkling of fresh herbs, you won’t be disappointed in the delicious favorite of Central New Yorkers.
3 lbs small potatoes, red, white or yellow
8 cups water
1 1/4 cups table salt or 2 cups kosher salt
1/2 – 1 stick (1/4-1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
fresh herbs – dill, chives or parsley, minced
Scrub the potatoes. It’s very important to keep the potatoes whole and not peel them.
If you peel or cut the potatoes, they will be incredibly salty. Also, choose potatoes that are approximately the same size, so they cook at the same time.
Place them in a large pot and pour in the water and add the salt. Bring the potatoes to a boil in the covered pot and cook until the potatoes can be pierced with a paring knife or fork, 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them. Pour the melted butter over the potatoes, sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with fresh herbs.
If you have any leftover potatoes, they are absolutely delicious pan fried. I like them so much, I purposely make extra potatoes, just so I can have leftovers to crisp up to golden brown perfection in a skillet the next day.
- 3 lbs small potatoes, red, white or yellow
- 8 cups water
- 1¼ cups table salt or 2 cups kosher salt
- ½ - 1 stick (1/4-1/2 cup) unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- fresh herbs - dill, chives or parsley, minced
- Scrub the potatoes. It's very important to keep the potatoes whole and not peel them. If you peel or cut the potatoes, they will be incredibly salty. Also, choose potatoes that are approximately the same size, so they cook at the same time. Place them in a large pot and pour in the water and add the salt.
- Bring the potatoes to a boil in the covered pot and cook until the potatoes can be pierced with a paring knife or fork, 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave.
- When the potatoes are cooked, drain them. Pour the melted butter over the potatoes, sprinkle with black pepper and garnish with fresh herbs.
Anna @ Happy Medley
Salt potatoes are perfect for summer grilling and with any kind of meat… Thanks for the recipe
Absolutely, Anna! They are great at picnics, barbecues, etc. They are especially wonderful in the warm summertime.
My uncle told me this recipe a year ago he said they always cooked them this way in ukraine. I wanted to try it but then forgot about it.I never knew that here this is a known recipe also. That’s amazing! Thank you for sharing, I really should try it now lol
I never knew that, Mariya! That’s great.
Ha….. Interesting …. Never tried before!!! Will deff do!
I also add minced garlic. Yummy. 🙂
Oh, yes! Garlic with potatoes is delicious!
Wow I can’t believe using that much salt doesn’t result in salty potatoes. What an interesting concept. I would also add some crushed garlic to that butter 😉
Isn’t it incredible! It always shocks me every time I do them and pour in the salt. It seems like the potatoes will be inedible. But, once you take a bite, you’ll see that they’re not salty at all. Actually, when I pan fry the leftovers the next day and cut them up into smaller pieces, I actually add a little bit more salt. Crushed garlic will be great here. I add it myself sometimes too.
Oh how I enjoy salt potatoes!! Those were the days, when mom would prepare the potatoes with the cold soup- haladnik. lol I don’t know how to spell it haha
But thanks for the awesome recipe with beautiful step-by-step pictures Olga!
Oh, yeah! They are perfect with that cold soup. Yum!
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Thank you to your brother:). Welcome! I’m glad you found something for yourself.
This recipe is such a give away that someone grew up in CNY – I’m from Syracuse! I introduced them to my in-laws who thought they were the best thing ever. Now that I live in Michigan I get excited whenever I see something from “home”.
Absolutely, Elizabeth! I loved growing up in CNY; it’s still one of my favorite places on earth.
great classic potato dish!
Yep, it sure is:).
This is a great recipe. I lived in NYC and went upstate quite often, especially to the Adirondacks. This was a common dish which always made me wonder how they got the salty and creamy mixture. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Upstate New York is a very special place to me. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it too:).
Hi, could you use larger Yukon gold potatoes for this recipe? Thanks!
You could try it, Kendall, but I think this recipe works best with small new potatoes.