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Monday, August 8, 2011

salt potatoes

I can't decide whether you want to hear my soapbox speech or not.

hahahaha. Who ever wants to hear anyone on a soapbox?

You can guess what it's all about anyway (eating locally, healthfully, and sustainably), so let's just skip ahead to the conclusion:

.... and that is why I have decided to force offer the opportunity for my family to go meatless one day a week.

Have you heard of the movement Meatless Monday? The gist of it is that it is very much good for your health and the planet if you abstain from meat one day a week. It doesn't have to be Monday, but "Meatless Thursday" lacks a little... je nais se quoi.

Click on that link up there if you want to know more about the reasons or get some recipe ideas. You can also find out about chefs who have made their restaurants meatless every Monday, and celebrities who are following the plan. In case you want to eat like a celebrity.

This family is going meatless on Mondays from here on out. At least until I get bored of it, anyway.

Here is the thing, though. Don't tell anyone around here. Lucky for me, no one in my house reads this blog, so they won't know. They are so used to eating what is placed in front of them, that they won't question me. We eat meatless meals fairly often, so it shouldn't be a noticeable issue.

My blog, too, is going meatless on Mondays. That's right, if it's Monday and you are craving a big ole' steak, don't come here. You ain't gonna find it.

Since we are starting this evening (with pesto pizza), I had to go through some older pictures in order to share something meatless with you today.

But it's a good one!

Salt Potatoes
New York Times 

In Syracuse, where this dish originates and still holds its own at state fairs and restaurants alike (so I'm told), in the 1800's Irish workers in the salt mines ate this as their daily lunch. While boiling the brine to distill the salt, they threw in some small potatoes to boil just before lunch time. In the summer, when the baby potatoes are coming out of the ground, you can buy a bag of potatoes and the salt in a combination package.

This is a very simple recipe, and one that you won't regret trying. The potatoes, after boiling at an extra-high temperature in the very salty water, come out with crinkly skins and creamy insides. Combine that with the salty flavor and some butter and herbs. Mmmm mmm mmm.

It's a crazy amount of salt in the boiling water (spill some while you cook and you can watch the water evaporate and leave a salt deposit on your counter). However, since the potatoes aren't peeled or pierced in any way, they don't get salty on the inside.

8 cups water
1 1/2 cups Kosher salt
3 pounds baby potatoes (scrubbed and with skins intact)
1 stick butter
fresh rosemary (you can use whatever herb you like, but I am partial to potatoes and rosemary)

Bring the salt and water to a boil. Add the potatoes, and cook until tender. It will take about half an hour.

Drain the potatoes (and watch the salt show up immediately on their skins).

Melt the butter in the cooking pot, add the herbs. When the butter is fully melted, add the potatoes back into the pot, toss and serve hot.