A few days ago I woke up and felt like making a spectacular dinner. I splurged and bought 3-pounds of porterhouse and grilled it to make this amazing Italian Bistecca Fiorintina. I paired it with these delicious country-style French potatoes because I knew my mozzarella-loving-son would be in ecstasy. Traditionally, l’aligot is made by hand in a huge pot (see photo) as the main course for village gatherings in the southern regions of France near the Pyrenees. It is extremely stringy, delicious and fun to eat. A 5-star recipe that didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t as stretchy as the photos because of the relatively modest 4-to-1 ratio of potatoes to cheese; in France it’s more like 2-to-1.
Two of my son’s favorite foods are mashed potatoes and mozzarella, so I knew this would be a guaranteed 5-stars in his eyes. While not much work, it does make a bit of a mess requiring a food processor and making a sticky mess of a sauce pan.
Issues / Comments:
- I substituted Eastern White Potatoes instead of Yukon Gold, which have a similar level of starch and consistency. The main difference was my Aligot was stark white instead of slightly golden. While it saved only $1.40 it saved for this recipe, they were already in my kitchen. The last thing I wanted was a third type of potato taking up precious shelf space in my tiny kitchen.
- The traditional cheese used in l’aligot is Tommes de Laguiole or Tomme d’Auvergne cheese. Chris Kimball recommends a mixture of Mozzarella and Gruyere. I substituted Jarlsberg ($5/lb) instead of Gruyere ($15/lb). Overall, Chris Kimball uses about half the amount of cheese called for by the famous French Cookbook Larousse Gastronomique; 8 ounces instead of 500 grams.
- Creme Fraiche is also commonly used, but I followed Chris Kimball’s recipe which didn’t call for it. Next time I’ll try including 100-to-200 grams.
Cost: $3.50. (because I didn’t use Gruyère)
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time 5:30 PM. Dinner time 6:30 PM.
Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepare it tonight are given below:
2 pounds Yukon Gold or Eastern White potatoes
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium garlic cloves
1 cup whole milk (up to 1-1/2 cups)
4-oz mozzarella cheese
4-oz Gruyère cheese; I substituted Jarlsberg today.
Ground black pepper
- Peel your potatoes and cut them into 1/2″-thick slices. Rinsed them well until the water runs clear, then drain potatoes in a colander.
- Put potato slices in large saucepan; add enough water to cover them by 1″. Add 1 tablespoon salt to water. Partially cover the saucepan with a lid and bring to a boil over high heat. Once fully boiling, fully cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes until potatoes begin to break apart when stabbed with fork. While the potatoes cook, shred your cheeses.
- When potatoes are tender, drain in a colander and dry your saucepan.
- Put potatoes to food processor; add butter (cut into 1 tablespoon chunks), and 1-1/2 teaspoons salt. Press garlic directly into food processor. Pulse with ten 1-second until butter is melted and incorporated into potatoes
- Add 1 cup of milk and continue to process for 20 seconds, scraping down the sides halfway through, until the potatoes are silky and creamy.
- Add potato mixture back to saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cheeses in two parts until fully incorporated.
- Cook potatoes and stir vigorously for 5 minutes, until cheese is fully melted and mixture is silky and elastic.
- While mine were perfect with 1 cup of milk, Chris Kimball mentions that if the mixture is difficult to stir or is too thick, that you can add up to 1/2 cup of additional milk (2 tablespoons at a time) until it becomes loose and creamy.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.