I actually don’t know if I have the words to describe the joy that is aligot potatoes.
I had never heard of them until a couple of years ago, when I ran across a recipe for them. Never saw them on a menu, never read about them, had no idea what “aligot” meant. Now mind you, I consider mashed potatoes one of the great pleasures of life, and I have tried all different approaches to them, none of them quite measuring up to my mother’s homemade mashed potatoes that we get at Christmas. (One Christmas she mixed pureed turnips into them. Or maybe it was parsnips. That was the Christmas That Almost Wasn’t. I have forgiven her, but it has taken a while.
Anyway, one of the things every mashed potato recipe tells you not to do, NEVER to do, is to “mash” them in your food processor. You are supposed to use a food mill (aggravating) or a hand masher (exhausting) or a ricer (the best approach, especially if you have a strapping Southern husband to help you). However, aligot potatoes are all about the food processor, which may be one of the reasons I love them so. That and the fact that they are incredibly, supernaturally, mind-blowingly delicious. Imagine if they invented a frosting that was the flavor of mashed potatoes and cheese — that is aligot potatoes. Smooth, silky, laced with melted cheese, topped with ground pepper…mmmmm.
Here is my ultimate proof. I made them last night for dinner, and the teenager had her best friend coming over at dinnertime — always a good opportunity for her to lobby for a pizza to be delivered. Since we were grilling porterhouse steaks to go with the potatoes, I thought hurray, more for me, and I okayed the pizza. She strolled into the kitchen as I was dishing out the aligot and said “What is THAT? Can I HAVE some?” This from a teenager that doesn’t eat a thing that has any kind of separate components to it. She did ask me if there was anything in it besides potatoes, and I lied like a rug, told her it was potatoes only, and ladled some into a dish for her. Which she then carried around with her for the next half hour all around the house, taking little bites to make it last.
- 2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into ½ inch slices
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1½ cups milk
- 1½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 1. Put sliced potatoes in large pot and cover with water. Add salt. Bring potatoes to a boil, partially cover and, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and wipe out pot.
- 2. Put potatoes, garlic and butter into food processor and process for 10 seconds. Add one cup of milk and process until smooth, about 30 seconds more.
- 3. Put potatoes back into pot over medium heat. Gradually stir in cheese, stirring continuously until cheese is melted and potatoes are smooth. If mixture becomes too thick, gradually stir in more milk until creamy. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.