In the mid 1800s, workers in New York salt marshes would cook their potatoes in the seawater they were boiling to extract the salt. They discovered that not only were the potatoes perfectly seasoned on the outside, they were tender and fluffy within. Scientifically speaking, because heavily salted water boils at a higher temperature, it cooks the potatoes quickly and alters their texture from ho-hum to heavenly. Do not be afraid of the copious use of salt in this recipe. It doesn't permeate the flesh of the potato and it gives the skin a nice seasoning and papery-crisp exterior. Use sea salt or kosher salt for best results.
- Bring three quarts of water to a boil with the salt, stirring occasionally to dissolve salt.
- Add potatoes and boil until potatoes are tender, about 15-30 minutes, depending on how big they are.
- Drain the potatoes, then toss with the melted butter, herbs and pepper. Serve immediately.
Find more recipes from Alison Needham on Family.com, or visit her blog at www.agirlamarketameal.com.
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I used kosher salt simply because it is cheaper (especially in such large quantity!) One unexpected drawback was the mess! As the very salty boiling water evaporated, it dropped white powder EVERYWHERE and left the sides of the pot completely covered in salt. This was very easily wiped up with a damp towel.
Per the recipe, I will try using sea salt next time, just for a slightly milder seasoning. This is a very tasty yet simple side dish that will make a great accompaniment for many meals and will definitely become part of our weeknight repetoire of recipes. It would be great to serve for a large group, considering how inexpensive and easy it is to prepare. These are definitely a hit for our family and we look forward to having them again..maybe with our favorite pork chops next time!