Excuse the ignorant question, but I have heard varying reports on whether it’s best to boil potatoes in salted or unsalted water, and also whether to start them in cold water or hot. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!
I remember when I studied at the french culinary institute they said to start the taters in cold slightly salted water but for the life of me i can’t remember why. They also said to cook them until they were just barely cooked (fork test) then dump out the water and let them sit in the hot pot for five minutes to steam and dry off. again i can’t ‘member why.
I just made gnocchi today in school. Here’s how we boil potatoes to use for recipes like gnocchi or puree or pommes dauphine, etc.
Preheat your oven to warm.
Wash your potatoes. Prep a bowl of cold water. Peel your potatoes well, removing all dark bits. Hold in the water.
If you’re using very large potatoes, halve them lengthwise and cut them into large chunks – about 8 total. The idea is to have roughly uniform pieces that will cook about the same time.
Rinse your potatoes well. Place them in a large pot with cold water to cover about an inch. Use a pot large enough so that it won’t boil over. Use cold water because otherwise your potatoes will overcook on the outside before they cook enough on the inside. Do not salt yet or you will wait longer for your water to boil because salt raises the boiling temperature of water.
Heat the water to a boil and then salt. Cook at a full boil until the potatoes are tender – test them with a sharp paring knife until there is no resistance. Do not overcook them.
Drain them – do not rinse. Turn them out to a pan large enough to hold them in a single layer and dry them out in the oven. Turn them occasionally but do not allow them to form a crust.
Mill or rice while warm.
Do you want to know the method for just boiled peeled pototoes to serve as is too?
IMHO, the best way to boil potatoes is to cut them (about 2 Cups) in half, then slice them in uniform thickness, put them in a microwave pot (The Pampered Chef has some with strainer tops), pour in a can of Campbell’s chicken broth and 1/2 can of cold or RT filtered water, add salt, microwave on high for 8-10 minutes. Mash russets. Stir white rose or similar creamy textured potatoes with a little butter and mozzarella cheese.
There is no such thing as an ignorant or rather a stupid question. Thanks to yours, this cook joined the Chow hound blog. Best methods are discovered as we experiment in creative cooking…that is, each recipe & cooking event elicits the best way for me to cook.
So it would be best to boil potatoes in unsalted water if you were cooking for someone who was a diabetic, perhaps. If you like what salt does for the taste of your recipe, then use salt.
My stupid questiion had to do with whether or not to cover the pot of boiling potatoes. As I reviewed the source of the question which had to do about authority figures in my life and taking ownership of my life and choices, i realized there is no the right or best way of doing anything, we simply need to experinent/experience & decide, based on our philosophy or way.
My first chef/teacher 50 years ago in the school of hard knocks, ordered me to remove the tops from the boiling potatoes. I never asked why. But i took him to mean that you never put a top on potatoes when they aRE BOILING. But now I know it depends on what your reasons are, he wanted to be able to test them for doneness without having to remove the tope each time. This morning i boiled potatoes with salt & with the top on because i decided to be the authority. The results of my choices have yet to be tasted in the form of ‘Great Grapa Bernie’s Potato Salad”, but I’ll keep you posted…after the great-grandson eats it..
We have removed some unsatisfactory answers to terms and privacy.