Anyone who has been fortunate enough to eat fresh home-cooked vegetables in France remembers them with pleasure... There are those who are convinced that it is only in France that one can enjoy such experiences, because French vegetables are somehow different. Fortunately this is not the case. Any fine, fresh vegetable will taste just as good in America or anywhere else when you use the French vegetable-cooking techniques.

Preliminary Cooking or Blanching


  • 3 pounds fresh spinach
  • A large kettle containing 7 to 8 quarts of rapidly boiling water
  • 3 ½ tablespoons salt
  • A stainless-steel chopping knife

Trim and wash the spinach. Drop it into the boiling water a handful at a time, add salt, and boil slowly, uncovered, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until spinach is limp. Drain, run cold water into kettle for a minute or two, drain again. By handfuls, squeeze out as much water from the spinach as possible. Chop. Set aside until ready to use. (Makes about 3 cups.)



  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A heavy-bottomed 8-inch enameled saucepan or skillet
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sifted flour
  • 1 cup beef stock, canned beef bouillon, or heavy cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons softened butter

Melt the butter in a saucepan. When bubbling, add the chopped spinach and stir over moderately high heat for 2 to 3 minutes to evaporate moisture. When the spinach just begins to adhere to the bottom of the pan, lower heat to moderate and stir in the flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and blend in the stock, bouillon, or cream. Season lightly, bring to the simmer, cover, and cook slowly for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent scorching. Correct seasoning, stir in softened butter, and serve.

Serves 6 people


In 1961, as a recent graduate of the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, Julia Child co-authored the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking and launched her career of educating Americans in delicious ways with food. In 1963 she began her own cooking show The French Chef, produced at WGBH. This recipe was published in The French Chef Cookbook*.

Watch these newly digitized episodes from the first year of The French Chef (1963) and learn more about Julia Child's life and career here.

*THE FRENCH CHEF COOKBOOK by Julia Child, copyright © 1968 by Julia Child. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc. For online information about other Random House, Inc. books and authors, see the Internet Web Site at