French Potato Salad #CookForJulia

by Renee on August 2, 2012

French Potato Salad

My celebration of Julia Child’s upcoming 100th birthday continues. She shared her love of food and cooking to millions of people. Her down to earth approach made cooking less daunting for so many. She was real. Her mishaps were not all edited out of her first TV show, The French Chef. I remember watching her flipping ingredients in a pan and a good bit of it went all over the stove. It made me smile and laugh a little. She kept going like nothing happened. She showed how cooking can be fun and mess-ups are okay.

Julia shared recipes from the very simple to the very complex. Even the simple ones like her French Potato Salad are full of flavor. Only a few ingredients come together for a dish you want again and again. I can say the hardest part was not eating the whole bowl when it was done. Let’s just say there was a whole bunch of taste testing going on in the kitchen.

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” — Julia Child

I used parsley from my garden in the potato salad. It does not get any fresher than cutting or picking an ingredient right before you use it. I adapted the recipe to reflect my method and the quantity of ingredients I used. You can find the original recipe in Julia Child’s cookbook “The Way to Cook“:

Which simple recipe by Julia Child is your favorite? Is it one you make often? There are so many to choose from. You can find more recipes on the PBS website in their #CookForJulia event. Try something new and have fun cooking and eating good food. As Julia would say – “Bon Appétit!”

Cook For Julia Teal Logo #CookForJulia

French Potato Salad

French Potato Salad

  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock (or potato-cooking water)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds boiling potatoes
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon salt per quart of water
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons light olive oil (optional)
  • Additional salt and/or white pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add the shallots, 1/4 teaspoon white pepper, chicken stock, vinegar, and parsley. Stir to combine and set aside.

Fill a 3-quart saucepan with cold water. Wash the potatoes. One at a time, peel a potato. If it is round and fat, cut it in half lengthwise. Cut the potato into 1/4-inch slices and drop the slices into the water in the pan. Once all the potatoes have been sliced, drain the water. Add clean cold water to cover the potatoes and the salt. Over medium-high heat, bring the potatoes to a simmer and lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer potatoes 2 to 3 minutes, or until the potatoes are just tender. You can test using a fork or by eating a slice to be sure. Do not overcook potatoes or they will fall apart.

Drain out the cooking water and cover the pan. Set aside for 3 to 4 minutes. Uncover the potatoes and transfer them to the bowl with the stock and shallot mixture. Gently toss to coat the potatoes with the mixture. Let set for 10 minutes or so, tossing gently every few minutes. Taste and correct seasoning as needed with salt and pepper. If using olive oil, add it to the mixture and gently toss with the potatoes. Serve and enjoy. Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container for up to two days.


Adapted from "The Way To Cook" cookbook by Julia Child.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Anita at Hungry Couple August 2, 2012 at 6:48 am

A simple and delicious preparation!


Lynn at Southern Fried French August 2, 2012 at 7:49 am

I’ve been making French potato salad for year, but I add olives, red onions, yellow peppers, and whatever else I have in the fridge! I think I’ll try it like this, pure and simple, sounds lovely.
As for my favorite Julia recipe, she has a flourless chocolate cake I like, but also I always go to her if I want to make a classic French recipe, like coq au vin.


Jen @ Juanita's Cocina August 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

Beautiful! And I love the quote.

Can you believe that when I made my dish for this #SundaySupper that that was my first Julia recipe??


Renee August 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

I cannot believe it was your first Julia Child dish Jen. Now that you have made one I am sure you will do more. Her recipes are so great.


Baker Street August 3, 2012 at 6:44 am

Another great recipe from Julia! I love how easy this salad is to put together!


Brandie (@ Home Cooking Memories) August 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm

I saw this recipe in her cookbook and considered making it. I really like the way yours looks…would be a nice change over the typical mayo-based potato salads.


CJ at Food Stories August 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Just beautiful … Happy Saturday :-)


foodwanderings August 4, 2012 at 5:26 pm

I haven’t had a potato salad in ages now craving it. What a great tribute!


Tora Estep August 5, 2012 at 9:41 am

I love the combination of a few simple ingredients like this. And food from the garden is always so fresh and satisfying. Thanks for sharing.


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