Potatoes are always a versatile side dish. They are popular any time of the year, no matter the season. And they practically go with any meal.
When I was a child, I recall my mom opening cans of small, peeled, pre-cooked potatoes and mixing them with a can of green beans. I always loved that with dinner. I’ve often elevated the dish by using fresh new potatoes and fresh green beans, as they are readily available at the market, but probably were not available when my mom was making this dish.
You may have heard of “salt” potatoes. It’s a “thing” in certain parts of the country. It originated in Syracuse, New York where there is a history of salt production from the salt springs. It’s common to find young potatoes, intended for boiling in a salt brine, packaged with the salt, at the markets in that area.
It is advised to use a pound of salt for 4 pounds of potatoes. I tend to use a ratio of 1 cup of salt per 6 cups of water; this method works just right with 1 to 2 pounds of small, young potatoes.
The skins of the potatoes are left intact. The salt forms a seal on the skin and renders a tender, tasty interior. One might think the potatoes would absorb too much of the salty brine, however, they turn out with just the right amount of salty flavor without being overpowering. Although, additional table salt is not typically needed.
I found a bag of the cutest little potatoes called nibblers that were not any larger than a marble. After boiling them in the brine, I combined them with green beans that I had cut into 1-inch pieces and topped the dish with a tad of butter and crispy fried garlic.
This dish will take you from the days of an Indian summer, right into fall, and all your holiday meals. Enjoy food made fresh!
Salt Potatoes with Green Beans and Crispy Garlic
1 ½ pound tiny new potatoes
6 cups water
1 cup Kosher or table salt
1 ½ cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
6 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil
2 tablespoons butter
Rinse and scrub potatoes, as needed. Place water into a medium saucepan. Add salt to water and heat over medium heat until salt dissolves. Add potatoes and continue cooking at a low boil until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Meantime, place the green beans in a small saucepan in about 1 inch of water. Steam over medium heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Peel garlic and cut into thin slices. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, watching closely, until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total.
Toss potatoes, green beans, garlic, and butter in a serving dish. Makes 4 to 6 servings.