My grandfather, Montgomery Budd, did all the outside cooking at our beach house in Rehoboth, Delaware. (It was actually in Indian Beach, below Rehoboth and Dewey Beach.) His famous recipes included “Chicken a la Rain” and “Chicken a la Sand” grilled on a great big Weber. The steaks were thick and rare – “warm to the touch in the middle” was the rule.
But once in a while he made Rosin Potatoes. My sister Jane and I are the only people I know who have actually eaten rosin potatoes or know what they are. Googling shows they were common in the South, though they were a novelty to us Northerners. And they are delicious, beautifully soft and creamy on the inside. The downside is that you can’t eat the skin.
The only recipe I could find in my books was in James Beard’s Treasury of Outdoor Cooking, published in 1960. Now out of print, it can easily and cheaply found used. Highly recommended.
How to cook potatoes in rosin?
Start with large baking potatoes such as Idaho or Maine.
- Basically, you put pine rosin (perhaps 10 to 20 lbs) in a large kettle. Iron works well and you can use the rosin over and over again. According to James Beard, when melted, it should be 5 to 6 inches deep.
- Heat rosin to the boiling point. Hot rosin is flammable. So be very careful and keep the flame away from molten rosin. We always did this outdoors.
- Carefully lower potatoes one at a time into the rosin using long tongs or a slotted wooden-handled spoon.
- Allow them to remain in the simmering rosin until they float to the top. It should take about 20 minutes.
- Remove potatoes and put them in squares of tin foil, wrap them and twist the ends. Most recipes say use heavy brown paper, but we always used tin foil.
Use pure, natural, light color rosin for baking potatoes. Such rosins are usually classified as grade WW. Rosin in bulk can be found on-line in such places as Diamond Forest Products.