Sunday, July 17, 2011

Potato & Beet Salad a la Julia Child

I am not a big potato eater, and so I had to ask why I should do a post about potatoes. Because my 4 yr old keeps asking for potatoes. Because both my kids think "Potatoes" means french fries, and I wanted to show them that there are other yummy ways to eat a potato. My husband loves them and even has a Potato cookbook with a very concise history of the potato. He read it out loud to anyone who would or wouldn't listen (his kids and myself) when he first purchased it. I am ambivalent about them generally. I grew up in the West Indies and although there were potatoes available, I don't recall growing up eating a lot of them. The prevalent starches were rice, cassava, breadfruit, pumpkin and dasheen.  
The question then was what type of potato recipe should I do? I decided to go with Julia Childs' recipe for Salade A La D'Argenson (Potato & Beet Salad). I seriously thought if the potatoes were pink, it might go over better. Silly me! The other grown person in the house said " not potato salad." But he ate it. It was quite good to me. The potatoes were creamy and the sweetness of the beets with the tanginess of the mayonnaise made for a nice combination. Apparently, my kids are not ready to be sophisticated foodie types.  E said 'I don't think I can eat pink potatoes mom' and the 4 year old said "Those aren't potatoes". So I have a little more work to do, starting with no longer calling french fries "potatoes". 
And for those of us who are ready to be sophisticated, give the recipe below a try!

Ingredients for the Vinaigrette: 
* 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
* 1/8 tsp salt
* 1/4 tsp dry mustard
* 6 tbsp olive oil
* 1 tbsp minced herbs of choice (I used chives)

First make the 'Sauce Vinaigrette' or French dressing. Julia says to beat together the vinegar in a bowl with salt & mustard, then beat the oil in by droplets. I have to say I don't make my own dressings generally because I am lazy and don't want to drizzle oil with one hand while whisking with another. My solution? That's what a kid is for - put all ingredients in a mason jar, screw on lid, and give it to a little sous chef to shake. 
If that sous chef gets tired or gives you a look like the one in the picture is giving, go to Plan B and use another sous chef who loves to move and shake anything she gets her hands on. Even if said sous chef prefers shirtless-ness. Good help is scarce these days.

Ingredients for potato salad
* 2 cups diced, peeled potatoes
* 2 cups diced cooked beets or canned beets
* 4 tbsp minced shallots or green onions
* vinaigrette
* 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise 
*3 tbsp fresh minced green herb of choice (I used tarragon)
* 1 cup of one or a combination of the following: green peas, cooked and diced green beans, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, diced raw apples, diced cooked meat of choice.(Julia likes to list options)
Boil 2 cups of diced, peeled potatoes until fork pierces easily, about 20 minutes.  Let them cool just slightly, They need to be warm for tossing. Toss with the vinaigrette, beets, and shallot in a large bowl.  I used 1 can (14.5 oz) of already diced beets that were drained first. I've never cooked beets from scratch and I am sure they would taste much better fresh, but I didn't really plan to do this recipe until the last minute. Add salt & pepper if desired, cover bowl and refrigerate for 24 hours. 
Mix the herbs with the mayonnaise, and gently fold into the other ingredients. Stirring it in will mash the potatoes. Choose one of the options, and fold into the salad I used a combination of steamed french-style cut green beans and grated raw carrot. The recipe says it makes a quart. It made enough for hubby and I to have four 1-cup servings. (This includes the small amount served to the kids)

Potato & Beet Salad with green beans and grated carrot


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ali said...

what does "beat the oil in" mean?

Janine White said...

@ali - it means whisk the oil in while drizzling it from the bottle. Don't dump the whole amount of oil in at the same time.

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