This is another example of how simple foods made from just a few ingredients can be wonderfully satisfying. All you need are potatoes, salt, and water. These potatoes are a Central New York favorite and a tradition when we visit the family camp. The salty flavor goes great with cookouts and clambakes. We like to have them with barbecued ribs or Hoffman hot dogs.
Stories I've read and heard state that salt potatoes originated with Irish workers at the Syracuse Salt yards near Onondaga Lake about a century ago. Then in 1914, Hinerwadel's starting bagging and selling salt potatoes. At the grocery stores in CNY, you can purchase bags of the little white potatoes with salt included and instructions right on the bag. I was informed that new red potatoes are not the correct potato for this dish, so look for the smallest new white potatoes that you can find.
According to Michael's parents, their families used very, very small potatoes when they were growing up—no more than an inch—and you could eat one whole. Leave the skin on when you dunk them in butter so that you get that wonderful salty crunch. I even like them without butter, which of course makes them a low-fat treat.
- 8-quart pot with lid
- 4½ pounds "B" size No. 2 white potatoes (1"-2" (the size of a large gumball is a good estimate))
- 12 ounces salt
- 2 quarts water
- melted butter (for dipping)
- Put potatoes in the pot and add water and salt. Boil until potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water and serve with melted butter.