Salade Francillon

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The Potato Year: 300 Classic Recipes

The Potato Year

By Lucy Madden

Published 2015

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This luxurious salad is for the seriously rich. Also known as Japanese salad, it was all the rage among fashionable Parisians in the late nineteenth century. It was first described in Francillon, a play by Alexandre Dumas, fils, although it is not known if it was his invention.


  • 2 lb (900 g) very small new potatoes
  • 4 pints (2.3 litres) mussels
  • 1 pint (570 ml) champagne
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 pints (1.1 litres) meat stock
  • 5 fl oz (150 ml) olive oil
  • 2 fl oz (50 ml) white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chives, finely chopped
  • 2 oz (50 g) black truffles, thinly sliced


Scrub the mussels, rinsing them several times in cold water and remove the beards. Put them in a wide pan with half the champagne and the shallots. Cover the pan and cook over a high heat until the shells open. Discard any unopened mussels. When cool, remove the mussels from the shells.

Boil the potatoes in the stock until tender. Drain them and slice thinly. Marinade in the remaining champagne for a half-hour.

Make a dressing with the oil, vinegar and seasonings. Combine the mussels and the potatoes and add the dressing very gently so as to avoid breaking the potatoes.

Serve in a crystal glass bowl, decorated with the herbs and sliced truffles.

In Larousse Gastronomique, the encyclopaedia of classic French cookery, it is suggested that Salade Francillon be served in the shape of a calotte de savant (wise man’s skull cap).

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