There’s no disputing the fact that Julia Child is a great resource for cooking advice, even after her death. The woman knew her way around some of the most challenging French dishes. But that doesn’t mean she hadn’t also mastered the American classics ― the woman could make a mean potato salad.
She shared the loose recipe for her favorite potato salad on The Splendid Table when the podcast first started decades ago, back in 1995. And while the podcast is old, the recipe is still totally relevant. We’ve outlined three important tips we learned from Child’s recipe for you.
Take note of those, and then try her recipe below.
1. Give the potatoes a chance to cook evenly. The whole point of potato salad is the potatoes, so make sure that you cook those right. Child says, “I slice the potatoes first, then I cook them in lightly salted, boiling water.”
2. Don’t walk away from boiling potatoes. Just because they’re in the water doesn’t mean they don’t need supervision! “I keep tasting them just to make sure that they’re just done because crunchily undercooked potatoes are horrifying.”
3. Be light with the mayo. “You don’t want too much mayo in it,” Child says. Potato salad is, after all, about the spuds. It is not ever about the mayonnaise. In fact, sometimes you can make potato salad entirely without it.
And now, for the recipe straight from Julia Child’s mouth on The Splendid Table:
“I use either the new potatoes or the red potatoes. You have to have one that’s going to boil properly. Those Yukon Gold are awfully good ― they’re just delicious.
“After you boil them, they’re just right. Then you drain them out. While they’re still warm, you toss them with some finely minced shallots, scallions or very, very finely minced sweet onion, and then salt and white pepper. I put in either a little potato cooking water or a little chicken stock and a little bit of wine vinegar to taste. Then I just very gently toss them around.
“We have celery and dill pickle. I like a little crisply cooked crumbled bacon and diced hard-boiled eggs. I always use the canned red pimento and some fresh minced parsley. Toss that all around. You don’t want too much mayo in it.”
And then, dig in!