World-renowned chef Julia Child would have been 102 on August 15. She wouldn’t like being called a chef. She never understood why her television show on PBS was called The French Chef as she was neither French nor a chef. Although she did attend and graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris with much perseverance. She was the only woman in her class and she didn’t want to be trained to be a restaurant chef. She just wanted to learn to cook for her husband who had lived in France before for several years and had very discriminating tastes. However, she diligently researched cooking foods with her two friends, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck, and the three taught American women living in Paris how to cook in classes at her apartment.
Their efforts to write a cookbook involved cooking each dish as many times as it took to get it perfect. Two amazing cookbooks came out of her years of long work, Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume Two. Simone Beck was not involved with the research and preparation of Volume Two.
In honor of Julia’s upcoming 102nd birthday here’s a recipe from her first cookbook. It’s also a perfect dish for Labor Day weekend get-togethers.
Pommes De Terre A L’Huile
(French Potato Salad – sliced potatoes in oil and vinegar dressing)
Recipe adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck
For about 6 cups
8 to 10 medium potatoes
4 TB dry white wine or 2 TB dry white vermouth and 2 TB stock or bouillon
2 TB wine vinegar or 1 TB vinegar and 1 TB lemon juice
1 tsp prepared mustard
¼ tsp salt
6 TB olive oil or salad oil
1 to 2 TB minced shallots or green onions (optional)
2 to 3 TB chopped mixed green herbs or parsley
Other Items Needed
Measuring cups and spoons
Large sauce pot
3 quart mixing bowl
Scrub the potatoes. Drop them in boiling salted water to cover. Boil until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a small knife. When they are cool enough to handle, peel, and cut them into slices about 1/8 inch thick. Place them in the mixing bowl.
Pour the wine or vermouth and stock or bouillon over the warm potato slices. Toss very gently. Set aside for a few minutes until the potatoes have absorbed the liquids.
Beat the vinegar or vinegar and lemon juice, mustard and salt in the small bowl until the salt has dissolved. Then beat in the oil by droplets. Season to taste. Stir in the optional shallots or onions. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and toss gently to blend.
Serve them while still warm or chill. Decorate with herbs before serving.
Another recipe for farm fresh North Texas tomatoes is on the chalkboard menu from Kathryn’s Texas Kitchen.
Until next time…