November 18th, 2012

Syracuse Salt Potatoes

“Gloria, could you bring a lactose-free gluten free potato dish?!!!!”

Um, sure. This was a request from Mary Jo, who was hosting an early Thanksgiving gathering. Now, potatoes are naturally gluten free, but lactose free meant no butter, no heavy cream, no cheese, no sour cream – you get the picture. However, I remembered a simple potato dish that I had in my “to try” file - Syracuse Salt Potatoes. It’s basically new potatoes boiled in a brine. Cook’s Country explains, “Because extra-salty water boils at a higher temperature, the starch in the potatoes cooks more completely,” resulting in a creamy interior.

The recipe is easy enough: 8 cups of water, 1 lb of salt, boil potatoes till tender. I served a simple melted herb butter on the side, but I would toss the potatoes in the butter if you don’t have a lactose restriction. I was worried that was just going to be a boring boiled potato. But I really enjoyed them. It’s nothing fancy; My friend Danny said it best, “it’s just a really good, solid potato.” As I was eating, something tugged at my culinary memory; the flavor and texture was familiar to me. After a quick search of the Flog I found this entry from a meal at Jose Andres’s Bazaar in LA in 2009:

 Papas Canarias salty wrinkled potatoes, mojo verde- I really liked these simple potatoes. They were boiled in heavily salted water, resulting in a tender interior and a crispy salt crust.

So, a potato recipe that is trendy enough for Bazaar, yet simple and easy for a weeknight meal.

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