Julia’s All-American Potato Salad

February 15, 2008

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I was reading Julia and Jacques Cooking At Home yesterday – in bed, I might add.  At five pounds of large-format hardcover, this is not the perfect book to cuddle up with.  I had put down this book for too long though, and glimpsing it on the shelf, I grabbed it on the way upstairs.

I like this cookbook for the back-and-forth bantering exchange between two such amazing chefs.  First, Julia will say “Well, when making such-and such, I like to…”, then on the opposite page, Jacques will say “Julia likes to do it this way, but I prefer…” and come up with a completely different method.  It reminds me that there is always more than one way to do something and do it well. 

My scrambled egg technique (from Jacques) is flawless.  They were, in fact, the first thing I ever cooked for my boyfriend (intimidatingly at the time, a professional cook).

This go around, the book threatening to suffocate me if I fell asleep and the snow falling outside, I was looking for recipes to use some of the beautiful savory bacon I had cured.  Flipping through, I came across a recipe for potato salad that included bacon and had the added advantage of tossing the hot potatoes with cider vinegar, a technique I’d never considered. 

So this morning when I woke up, I wasn’t too suprised that I had a serious jones for some potato salad, even if it wasn’t picnic weather.   It’s one of the first things I can ever remember making, probably in first grade, with some precooked potatoes and illustrated recipe cards.  I might have added too much vinegar then, because ever since, I have been a fan of tart potato salad.  This one completely fits the bill.

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Classic American Potato Salad

     adapted from Julia Child in Jacques and Julia Cooking At Home, serves 2 or 3

  • 1 pound Yukon Gold, or other waxy variety, potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt

peel potatoes and slice into 1/2 inch chunks.  put in a saucepan and just cover with water.  add salt.  bring to a boil, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer for 6 to 7 minutes.  check potatoes to make sure they are tender and cooked through.  drain and toss with

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

let sit 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, to absorb the vinegar.

  • 1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 slices bacon, crisped and chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons cornichons (or dill pickles), finely chopped
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped, including some of the greens

combine and toss gently with potatoes. 

  • 1/3 cup mayonaise
  • 1-2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • salt and fresh-ground pepper, to taste

fold into potato mixture, tasting and correcting for balance.  refrigerate at least an hour to chill and retaste for seasoning and acidity.

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6 Responses to “Julia’s All-American Potato Salad”


  1. Sounds great. I am so making this, but I will change the mayo to plain yogurt. Have you thought about making Chinese style sausage? Because, I could see that added to this kind of potato salad. Though, I really want you to try the Korean Potato Salad that I made a couple weeks ago (it is one of my janaury posts.)


  2. I like my potato salad with lots of vinegar too. For me, it feels bland with out the pop of the vinegar. Todd prefers it with less, so he has to make his own!
    BTW- This is a really great book and I especially love the cover. Two people I very much admire.

  3. Dhivya Says:

    Thats some book to cuddle to. I have the habit of reading cookbooks while going to sleep too – bothers the hell out of my hubby! haha

    Good one with potatoes. Thanks for sending it my way :)

  4. Gilli Says:

    Great book. have you read “my Life in France” Julia’s biograpghy and “The Apprentice” Jacques’ autobiography.

    Both wonderful books and wonderful lives.

    I am going to make the potato salad for dinner tonight…it is hot here and that will perfect.

    Cheers

  5. Gilli Says:

    Just to let you know I have made the salad.
    I added shrimp and peas and celery to make a full meal
    Itr’s cooling in the fridge while I write.
    Also I used the vinegar from the pickles instead of cider vinegar.

    It tastes great.
    Cheers

  6. charcuterista Says:

    Mmm…now I want to try it with shrimp…Thanks for a yummy variation idea!


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