The locals love their Salt Potatoes, and they are on menus of restaurants from Albany to Buffalo, and from Jamestown to Binghamton.
Syracuse, NY, was once a major salt production center and is still known as the "Salt City." It has a main drag named Salina Street, and the suburb of Liverpool even has a Salt Museum on the shores of Onondaga Lake, where, until 1920, brine from the salty marshes near the lake was converted to "white gold."
The recipe for Salt Potatoes came about in the 1800s when, legend has it, Irish salt miners made lunch by putting potatoes in baskets and lowered them into the kettles of boiling brine. The spuds were then crowned with gobs of butter. They are so popular that groceries sell Salt Potato kits - just bags of potatoes with the right amount of salt enclosed.
When I serve Salt Potatoes with barbecue, I eat both with my fingers and let the sauce and butter mix create the best licking this side of an ice cream cone. These little nuggets are the perfect side dish for countless BBQ and grilling dishes but especially with other Upstate specialties: Cornell Chicken, Binghamton Spiedies, and Buffalo Chicken Wings. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave or fry and grill easily since there is so much butter on them. For a less salty, less buttery and more grilled and crunchy take on salt potatoes, Modern Grilled Salt Potatoes Recipes with Less Salt
The Original Salt Potatoes Recipe
This delicious salt potatoes recipe is based on this traditional upstate New York side dish. Salt potatoes came about in the 1800s when, legend has it, Irish salt miners made lunch by putting potatoes in baskets and lowered them into the kettles of boiling brine. The spuds were then crowned with gobs of butter.
Makes. 4 servings at 1/2 pound each
Prep time. 15 minutes
Cooking time. 20-30 minutes depending on the size of the potato chunks
2 quarts (1/2 gallon) water
1/2 pound salt
2 pounds small waxy potatoes, new potatoes, or fingerlings
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
About the potatoes. White potatoes are standard, but you can use red skinned potatoes if you wish.
About the salt. It doesn't matter if you use table salt or kosher salt since the recipe goes by weight.
1) First, read my article on The Science of Potatoes.
2) Prep. Wash the potatoes thoroughly, scrubbing them with a scrubby sponge. Make sure you get all the soap out of the sponge, please. Cut out any bad spots or growing eyes, but leave the skin on and leave them whole.
3) Cook. Then bring the water to a hard boil. Add the salt and stir until dissolved. Add the taters being careful not to splash yourself. Boil until a fork slides in and out of a potato with ease, about 20-30 minutes.
4) Pour the potatoes into a strainer or colander in the sink and drain. Let them sit for a few minutes and they should get a slight frosting of salt. Put the hot pot back on the burner and turn it to medium. Add the butter and melt it. Then add the potatoes, stir to coat with butter.
5) Serve. Serve immediately, but they are potatoes, so they'll stay warm for a while.
"I think of Syracuse Salt Potatoes as big, thick, warm, fuzzy, buttery potato chips."Meathead