Seasoned Traveller
Recipe: Aligot

Foolproof Aligot Recipe (Cheesy Stretchy Mashed Potato)

Words & images by Sofia Levin

Introducing aligot, the Rolls-Royce of mashed potato. Honestly, that analogy hardly does justice to the world’s ultimate comfort food and cheesiest, stretchiest mash.

Aligot is so elastic it’s sometimes mistaken for fondue. It hails from the Aubrac region of Auvergne in south-central France, and while it’s easy to make, having the right ingredients on hand is essential.

This aligot recipe is essentially half potatoes and half cheese, so the varieties you choose of each effect the final dish. High-starch potatoes are crucial, as is not storing them in the fridge where starches turn to sugar. Try Maris Piper potatoes, a favourite of Jamie Oliver. 

Arguably even more important is the cheese. Tomme fraiche is an alpine cheese that’s only matured for two to three days under dry salt. This means it doesn’t grow a rind and its pH decreases to the perfect acidity for melting and stretching without splitting or solidifying. 

In Melbourne, only Maker & Monger at Prahran Market stock the real deal, airfreighted directly from the source. This decadent recipe comes courtesy of cheesemonger Anthony Femia, who has done all the experimenting for you. 

“There’s a locally made tomme fraiche, but it’s not made to the traditional recipe from central France. Australian cows don’t have the same special milk of the Aubrac cows, which is what results in pH that’s perfect for melting. That milk is also what creates the squeaky-clean flavour that lifts the whole dish so it doesn’t feel too heavy,” he says.

If you can’t access tome fraiche, you can use half comte (or swiss gruyere), and half plain scarmoza (or yellow cow’s milk mozzarella) as an alternative. Anthony also points out that traditional aligot doesn’t have garlic in it, so he chooses to boil a couple of cloves alongside the potatoes for just a hint of flavour. If you want the full whack of garlic, he suggests mincing the cloves and adding them to the melted butter before the cooked potatoes are added. 

Aligot is best served with sausages (ask your local butcher for Toulouse sausages), a French bistro salad with an acidic dressing to cut through the richness, and classic braised puy lentils for an absolute feast. 

Aligot Recipe 
Cheesy Stretchy Mash

Makes 4 large or 6 small portions

Ingredients

1kg starchy potatoes, peeled & quartered
2 whole garlic cloves, peeled
100g butter, roughly cubed & room temperature 
200ml heavy cream, warmed
1kg tomme fraiche cheese*, cut into 1cm cubes & room temperature
salt & black pepper, freshly ground

*Recipe note: if tomme fraiche is unavailable, use 500g of comte or swiss gruyere, and 500g of plain scarmoza or yellow cow’s milk mozzarella.

Method

1. Cover potatoes and garlic in a pot with heavily salted water. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are soft and can be easily pierced (15 to 20 minutes). Drain, remove garlic and set aside. 

2. Melt butter in a heavy-based pot. If you want garlicky potatoes, mince the garlic and cook until softened in the butter for a few minutes, otherwise toss garlic. Next, rice (or thoroughly mash) the potatoes directly into the butter.  

3. Warm cream (ensure it doesn’t boil) and stir into the potatoes. Once combined, reduce heat to low and start adding the cheese one handful at a time. Continue with patience, adding one small handful of cheese at a time and mixing until fully incorporated and smooth. It should take a minimum of 30 minutes and will become thick, stretchy and velvety. 

4. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve with sausages, puy lentils and a simple green salad.

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