French Potato Salad

This French potato salad is tangy and oh so delicious, featuring red potatoes, capers, and parsley. It’s an adaptation of Julia Child’s classic recipe!

French potato salad

One of the first cookbooks Alex and I picked up when we wanted to learn to cook was Julia Child’s. And reading her book, we fell in love with her personality. Here was someone who was SO passionate that anyone could learn to cook! We started to watch her black and white cooking shows and found her completely engaging. So, we have a soft spot for anything Julia Child! Recently we made Nicoise salad, a recipe we learned about from Julia, and it part of that recipe is making a French potato salad. And it was so good that we kept sneaking bits from the bowl! So we realized we needed a separate recipe so we could keep eating French potato salad all summer long. Keep reading for this French potato salad recipe!

Related: 25 Best Salad Recipes | Garlicky Mashed Red Potatoes | Seasoned Potato Wedges

French potato salad | Potato salad with capers

What is French potato salad?

Now, what is French potato salad? French potato salad is a vinegar based potato salad. While the ingredients can vary, it typically includes vinegar and olive oil, fresh herbs like parsley or dill, onion, shallot or scallions, and sometimes capers. French potato salad is a no mayo potato salad, and it works for many diets including vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and gluten-free.

what is French potato salad?

How to make this French potato salad

This French potato salad is incredibly tasty: the sum of its parts equal something much greater than the whole! The red potatoes are salty, tangy, and moist, mixed with just the right amount of salty capers and savory minced shallot. Alex and I truly could not help ourselves from sneaking bites while making this salad: it’s just that good! We could not stop eating it.

One of the keys to this French potato salad is that it doesn’t include a vinaigrette, like a normal potato salad might have. Instead, you boil the potatoes and then after they’re drained, you mix them with white wine vinegar and warm water and let them stand for about 5 minutes. At first when you mix in the water, the potatoes will be very watery. But as you let them stand and gently mix the potatoes, they’ll absorb the water and take on a moist quality, instead of becoming very dry like potatoes can be after they’re boiled. It’s only after letting them stand that you add the olive oil: and this makes for a super moist potato salad.

The other key is that this is a potato salad with capers: they add just the right amount of tangy, salty bite! This was an addition we made to Julia’s salad recipe, as we saw some other French potato salad recipes that incorporated capers. (Also, we had an insanely good potato salad in Croatia that had capers and we’ve been wanting to recreate it ever since!)

What else to do with capers? Make Paprika goat cheese spread, Creamy vegan pasta marinara, Pasta puttanesca

French potato salad

Looking for salad recipes?

Outside of this French potato salad, here are a few of our favorite salad recipes:

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This French potato salad recipe is…

This French potato salad recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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French potato salad

French Potato Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

Description

This French potato salad is tangy and oh so delicious, featuring red potatoes, capers, and parsley. It’s an adaptation of Julia Child’s classic recipe!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds baby red potatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot (about 1 large)
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Fill a large pot with cold water and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Add the whole potatoes and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, set a timer for 8 minutes. Cook until fork tender (taste test to check).
  2. Mince the shallot.
  3. When the potatoes are done, drain them. When they are cool enough to handle, slice them into bite sized pieces. Place the potatoes in a bowl and gently mix in the minced shallot, white wine vinegar, kosher salt, and 1/2 cup warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. The potatoes will absorb the water as they stand.
  4. Add the capers, parsley, olive oil, and a few grinds black pepper. Taste and add additional salt if necessary. Serve warm or room temperature.

Notes

Inspired by The Way to Cook by Julia Child

  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French

Keywords: French potato salad, What is French potato salad, Potato salad with capers, Best potato salad, Potato salad with vinegar

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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