Aligot isn’t so much a side dish as it is a work of art. Humble potatoes and cheese are beaten together with crème fraiche until they form silky, smooth ribbons of pureed potato. It’s a deliciously hearty recipe, and it’s tempting to eat it all by itself, in the dead of winter, for its sheer comfort value.
Try to hold out, though, and accompany it with a rich steak for a luxurious meal. Once you do, it will be hard to go back to regular mashed potatoes.
- 2 pounds mashing potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
- 1/4 cup crème fraiche (substitute equal parts sour cream and heavy cream)
- 1 clove garlic, lightly crushed but kept intact
- 3 cups grated Cantal cheese (substitute good-quality sharp cheddar)
How to make aligot:
Place the potato quarters into a pan of cold, lightly salted water. Boil for 20 minutes, until they turn tender, keep a check on them to make sure they don't start to break up. Once cooked, drain them in a colander.
Mash the with potatoes with a masher. Add the salt, pepper, and butter and then vigorously mix for, about 2 to 3 minutes, until the potatoes fluff up a bit. Set them aside in the pan for a moment.
In a medium -sized saucepan over medium heat, bring the crème fraiche and garlic to just steaming. Do not boil or the creme fraiche may split. Remove the garlic and pour the hot crème fraiche into the mashed potatoes and transfer the pan of potatoes to the stovetop over low heat. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, beat the crème fraiche into potatoes.By not the potatoes will be starting to turn glossy.
Raise the heat to medium and beat in the cheese, 1/2 cup at a time. Continue beating the mixture over the heat until it forms a smooth, velvety texture, about 10 minutes. Do not skimp on this process; it is the sturdy beating which makes Aligot so deliciously velvety.
Pour onto warm plates and serve immediately.
How to Keep Aligot if Not Serving Immediately
Aligot does not keep very well, however, if you must (just for a short time) cut a circle of greaseproof paper and lay touching the surface of the potatoes. This method will help prevent a skin forming on the potatoes, which if this happens and you then stir will make the Aligot lumpy.
This technique is suitable for all milk and cream based dishes which are prone to skin-forming.
This aligot recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.