Why Red Potatoes Are Ideal For A Seafood Boil

While the star of a seafood boil is undoubtedly the seafood, the other ingredients that go into this hodgepodge dish each have their own integral roles in providing an elevated eating experience. Take the potato, for example. On its own, it may seem plain, but when stewed in the rich broth, it takes on all of the intricate flavors in the pot and creates the perfect savory bite between bites of seafood. Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn's festive seafood boil gives careful consideration to the type of potato selected for this dish.

In her recipe, McGlinn selects red potatoes because they "hold their shape in such a hardy recipe." Red potatoes are small and have bright, earthy red skin, just as the name implies. As McGlinn points out, red potatoes are adept at holding their shape and have a heavier texture after cooking. They're also known for their exceptional ability to take on the flavors around them, making them the perfect addition to a seafood boil. As an added bonus, the red skin of the potatoes is a source of iron and vitamin C. Plus, the red skin will retain its color while it cooks, offering a vibrant hue to your boil.

Boil the potatoes early for the best texture and flavor

In McGlinn's recipe, she notes that everything in the seafood boil has a slightly different cooking length, and the potatoes should be added near the start. McGlinn recommends that the potatoes and sausage be added to boil about 10 minutes before the other ingredients join. While this is mostly done to ensure that the potatoes are thoroughly cooked, it also allows the potatoes to begin taking on the flavors of the broth early. This prevents your boiled potatoes from being bland and helps them develop wonderful fluffy textures.

When potatoes are boiled, something magical happens. The heat from the cooking liquid starts to loosen up the potato and allow for an immersion of flavors. More precisely, the cell walls of the potato open up, and the starches begin to draw in the cooking liquid. The magic of the red potato is that the skin remains intact, offering a snappy bite on top of the soft interior.