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.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter (1/2 stick)
- 2 cups crème fraiche (substitute equal parts sour cream and heavy cream)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed but kept intact
- 3 cups grated Cantal cheese (substitute good-quality sharp cheddar)
Boil the potatoes for 20 minutes, until they turn tender and drain them. Mash them with a potato masher and vigorously mix in the salt, pepper, and butter 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 saucepan over medium heat, bring the crème fraiche and garlic to just steaming. Remove the garlic and pour the steaming 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.
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. Pour onto warm plates and serve immediately.
This aligot recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.