Approx cost: €3
Approx calories (per serving if divided by 4): ~400
Approx preparation and cooking time: 30 mins
If you ever plan to take a trip to Paris and you love a good steak, I strongly urge you to visit La Maison de l’Aubrac. The steaks are some of the best I’ve had in my life, but even better than that is their aligot. They will probably offer you a choice between some rather uninspired little herby chunks of fried potato, or this as an accompaniment to the steak. Seriously – if you want to miss out on an almost religious food experience, do not choose the herb chunks! Ok, ok, perhaps I’m hyping it up a bit much, but it really is that good! So what on earth is it anyway, this aligot, pronounced “ah-lee-go”, stuff? Well – it’s basically a gooey mess of potatoes and cheese – the best possible kind of gooey mess. It’s roughly 2 parts potatoes to 1 part cheese, all blended (yes, not just mashed!) together to create a smooth, fondue-like, stringy, cheesey side-dish which is probably one of the best accompaniments for meat I’ve yet encountered. That said, you can equally eat it with pretty much anything, as I did this time around (see the photo above), I had some grilled vegetables – aubergine, courgette and red pepper – and damn good it was too.
So, what do you need to bear in mind when you’re making this? It’s actually pretty easy. As long as you can boil potatoes and grate cheese then this shouldn’t really pose a problem . I used roughly equal parts Mozzarella and Comté cheese, but if you can find a cheese called “Tomme” then it’s better to use exclusively this. Luckily I’m in France so I have no problem finding these cheeses, but for readers from further afield it may be a bit more difficult. In any case, use a high-fat cheese which melts easily without coagulating too fast. Many cheddars are perfect for this, Cantal is also good. I’ve used milk to try and trim off a few extra calories, but you can use cream, or crème fraiche. Oh, and you’ll also need a Hand Blender. Got it? Excellent – now go forth and make your pot of cheesey awesomeness!
- 600g Potatoes (~450g peeled weight)
- 200ml Milk
- 120g Mozzarella Cheese
- 100g high-fat hard cheese – Cheddar, Comté, Cantal etc (or replace both Mozzarella and this with 220g Tomme cheese)
- 30g Butter
- 6-7 Cloves of Garlic
You’ll also need
- A Hand Blender
- Start off by peeling the potatoes, chopping into chunks and placing in a saucepan of salted water. Bring to the boil and boil for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.
- Peel the garlic cloves and cut away the end, before cutting each clove in half. In a new saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat. Place the chopped garlic cloves into the melted butter and cook through for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly. The important thing is to remember that you’re not frying the cloves. You want the cloves to go mushy and soft, and you want the delicious garlic flavours to infuse into the butter, so keep the heat low, and ensure there is no sizzling.
- While the potatoes and garlic are cooking, grate the cheese(s) and set aside. Once the potatoes are ready, drain away the water.
- If the garlic is now soft (can be pushed apart by a spatula or fork) add the potatoes into the hot butter and garlic and stir briefly before adding in the milk and bringing up the heat a little. Allow the milk to start steaming before adding in the cheese and stirring well until the cheese has melted.
- Add about 1tsp of Salt before blending the potatoes and cheese for about 3-4 minutes, until very smooth, being sure that you’ve blended any remaining pieces of garlic. Taste the aligot to ensure it doesn’t need any additional salt.
- Heat the pan through on the stove to ensure it is hot, stirring constantly – you should see that the aligot is getting stringy. When it is nice and hot, serve out. You can either make a “puddle” on a plate and serve the meat or vegetables on top, or simply serve it on the side (or even directly from a bowl!). Enjoy!