Monday, April 4, 2011

Salt of the earth

Salt potatoes 1

Spring is starting to slowly shoulder winter aside and the longer days and the disappearing snows speak a promise of sunlight and crisp fresh vegetables. But we’re not there, not yet.

Last night, a grey and cool Sunday night suddenly turned ugly as torrents of sleet and rain made what should have been a pleasant, slightly tipsy bike ride into a mad, wet dash for warmth. A week ago, we got a mid-week dump of snow that had me pining for the cherry blossoms that are no doubt in full bloom back in Vancouver. Something about that reminded me of this salt-roasted potato recipe I’d been interested in trying out.
Normally, I follow Nigella Lawson’s approach to roasting potatoes: a quick tumble in some boiling water and then into a pan full of hot fat or oil until crispy. I think the point of the salt-roasting is to draw the moisture out of the skin to create a crunchy exterior. And it worked well enough — the skin was dry and crisp and the insides softy and fluffy, kind of like a baked potato — but I honestly don’t think it’s worth the effort or the wasted salt. But if you happen to have a couple of pounds of salt burning a hole in your pantry, go nuts.

Salt Roasted Potatoes
1-2 Cups Kosher salt
1-2 pounds of small new or fingerling potatoes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Rinse and scrub the potatoes, making sure they are completely dry.

Pour salt into an oven-safe dish, then arrange the potatoes on top.

Roast in the oven in the middle rack until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork (not a knife), about 45 minutes to an hour.

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