What if I told you that you could take butter, salt, and potatoes, and make them taste unlike any other potato you've tasted before?
If you're at all like me, you would say "Paint, that's just malarkey, there's no possible way you could enlighten me with any combination of those three ingredients. Even though you are a warrior poet in the kitchen, I've had potatoes every which way so you must be joking if you think you can just boil up some potatoes in salt water and douse them with butter and pass that off as football food."
That's fine, that's expected, and unless you are from central/western/central-west-northern New York, you're probably oblivious to the fact that salt potatoes are even a thing. Luckily my good friend here in Denver is a Syracuse alum, and when I approached him about doing a Syracuse-related football food article, he immediately tipped me off on this regional phenomenon. I was intrigued to say the least, and started doing some research. What I found was that people are actually quite rabid over these things. In and around Syracuse and the greater Onondaga Lake region, these are omnipresent in the summer when BBQ and fair season takes off. In fact you can go to any grocer and find a kit for these - basically a 4 pound bag of young potatoes packaged with a pound of salt. Yeah that's right, a pound of salt. See the key is, the massive amount of salt in the water makes the boiling point much higher, so you end up with these potatoes cooked at a higher heat that have this incredible rich and creamy texture with salty skins. From there all you have to do is pour melted butter on top. Interested? I know I am. Let's hit the kitchen!
Syracuse Salt Potatoes
-3 pounds of golf ball sized potatoes (I used fingerlings because I couldn't find any new yukons)
-1.5 cups of kosher salt
-8 cups of water
-1 stick of butter
This is the ideal size for a salt potato - perfect for popping into your mouth whole.
Dump the salt into the water and bring to a boil.
While that's heating up, go ahead and get your butter out.
You will get an idea of the salt pungency of this water pretty early on as salt crust starts to form along the sides of your pot.
Once the water comes to a boil, go ahead and add your potatoes.
Wait for about 30 mins. They should be fork tender by then. Just poke one and make sure there is some give or else you will need to boil a little bit longer.
Melt your butter.
Once the potatoes are tender, turn the heat off and note the crazy amount of salt everywhere. But don't be alarmed! They will taste just fine.
Drain the potatoes.
Once they are drained, add them to a bowl and pour the melted butter "sauce" over top of them.
Marvel at the Breaking Bad-esque scene that remains on your stovetop.
Pair them with beer. I think there are mutliple directions to go here. I like the idea of something sweet to balance the saltiness, like a really big stout, but I think even better would be a nice and clean lager. We don't get a lot of New York beers here or else I'd try to find something by Southern Tier, but I think this Craft Lager by Upslope works really well with this.
The potatoes are indeed delicious and unique. They have this dusted-on jacket of salt and skin that gives way to a a beautiful creamy texture in the middle. Potato lovers, this is an essential dish to try. Now let's get a W.