Aligot is made of five ingredients, all with a similar hue: mashed potatoes, cheese, butter, cream, and garlic.
Homogeneity is never a good thing, but aligot is an exception to the rule.
Hailing from the Midi-Pyrénées region of Southern France, particularly in Auvergne, aligot is smooth and silky, somewhere between a fondue and your grandma’s standard mashed potato recipe—except ten times more delicious. Avoid it if you’re on a diet.
The cheese to use is Tomme d’Auvergne or Cantal, but since that’s nearly impossible to find in New York and way too stinky to bring back in a suitcase from France, a few different cheeses will do. Tasting Table, whose recipe I mostly followed, says a mix of gruyère and mozzarella will do. The New York Times suggests a “firm, uncured cheese,” like Italian scamorza (do NOT use cream cheese). The folks at Minetta Tavern in the West Village consider cheddar cheese curds an option. If using an Italian or cheddar cheese offends your French sensibilities, there’s always raclette, which is technically Swiss, but at this point, who cares! The most important thing is getting that aligot in your belly.
Please note that I’ve modified this recipe to make it easy. If you want to dedicate more time and attention, I’d recommend using the original Tasting Table recipe or any of the ones linked above.
Here’s what you’ll need, for four servings:
(adapted from Tasting Table’s Pommes Aligot)
4 Medium Yellow Potatoes (about 2 lb), peeled and halved
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter (¾ stick), separated into individual tablespoons
1 cup Heavy Cream 1.5 lb (about two medium wedges) of Raclette (or alternate cheese mentioned above)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Put potatoes in very salty water, and bring it to a boil.
Once it’s there, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, mince the garlic, cut the raclette (or other cheese) into small cubes, and ready the butter and heavy cream. Once the potatoes are tender enough for a knife to pierce them easily, remove them and put them through a ricer or food mill while they’re still hot. I know what you’re thinking: we live in shoeboxes, who has the space for appliances we’ll probably use just for aligot? If that’s the case, pushing the potatoes through the largest holes on a box cheese grater will do, but I’d advise letting the potatoes cool down first. (Savvier cooks can use their food processors to blend the potatoes with all the other ingredients, before throwing it back in the saucepan and adding the cheese, like this in this recipe from Annie’s Eats.)
After the potatoes are grated, put it back in the saucepan, and add the butter, garlic, cream. Add the cheese in batches, waiting for the first batch to be melted before adding the next.
Keep mixing until the texture is smooth, and forms an elastic, ribbon-like texture when you move the spoon around. Make sure you don’t stop when the mix is soupy; wait for it to seem more like a cohesive mass. And enjoy as soon as possible! Psst: If you hate cooking, try aligot at Minetta Tavern or Buvette.
Recipe prepared by Nikkitha Bakshani