This easy French purple potato salad is based on Julia Child’s pommes de terre à l’huile, and is made with boiled potatoes and a mustard vinaigrette.
We’ve been ordering our groceries online this year.
Sometimes it’s easy and perfect, occasionally it’s frustrating, and from time to time, the store surprises me with ingredients that I didn’t intend to order.
A few weeks ago, the grocery store swapped my red potatoes for baby purple potatoes. It was an exciting swap, because purple potatoes are so fun!
I knew these purple beauties would be perfect in a salad.
This recipe is based on my favorite potato salad, Julia Child’s pommes de terre à l’huile from her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume I.
This is not a mayonnaise-based potato salad. Instead, this version uses sliced boiled potatoes tossed in a mustard vinaigrette.
What’s the Deal with Purple Potatoes?
Purple potatoes (sometimes called blue potatoes) are purple inside and out!
These pretty little spuds are starchy (like a Russet potato), with a mild nutty flavor. Purple potatoes are generally somewhat small.
Like other naturally purple and blue foods, they’re packed with healthy antioxidants.
Do Purple Potatoes Stay Purple After Cooking?
It depends on the variety.
Many varieties of purple potatoes get even darker after cooking.
As you can see in the photos, the purple potatoes I used were purple inside and out before cooking, but the inside turned an extremely pale purple (almost white) after cooking.
How to Make A French Potato Salad
Boil the Purple Potatoes
Start by slicing the potatoes.
Because purple potatoes are starchy, they’ll fall apart if sliced too thinly. Slice them about a quarter-inch thick.
Boil the potatoes until they’re just tender, and then strain the water away.
Place the potatoes back in the pan (off-heat) and drizzle a little white wine or vegetable broth over the potatoes. Cover the pot and wait a moment or two for the potatoes to absorb the liquid.
Make the Mustard Vinaigrette
Whisk together a little mustard and wine vinegar.
Slowly drizzle in olive oil, drop by drop, as you whisk constantly.
Adding the oil gradually will help emulsify the oil, creating a silky vinaigrette.
Toss the potatoes in the mustard dressing. Add some chopped green onion and toss again.
Serve the salad right away, or put it in the fridge and serve it chilled later. This is the kind of low-pressure side dish that you can make ahead of time and there’s no need to reheat!
French Purple Potato Salad
4 Days (Fridge)
- 1 pound purple potatoes Do not use purple sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine Or use vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ cup diced green onions or chives
- torn fresh green herbs (such as basil or parsley), optional
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Scrub potatoes. Cut potatoes into slices about ¼-inch thick.Add potatoes to the boiling water, and boil until tender when pierced with a fork, about 8-10 minutes. Take care to remove them when they are just tender: if you over cook the potatoes they may fall apart in the salad.
- Drain potatoes and return them to the pot (off-heat).Drizzle white wine over the potatoes and gently stir. Cover the pot for about 2 minutes, or until the potatoes have absorbed the wine.
- In a separate small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and sea salt.Add the oil drop by drop, whisking constantly as you pour.Gradually adding the oil will help emulsify the dressing, making it creamy instead of greasy. Avoid adding all the oil at once.
- Pour dressing over the potatoes and toss gently to blend. Add the green onions or chives and toss again. Optionally, add fresh herbs.Serve salad warm or cold. Store leftovers in the fridge and eat within 3-4 days.