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!”
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.