Over the holidays, I decided to try my hand at the traditional French potato dish aligot.
This creamy and flavorful dish jumped on my radar after some Tomme de Laguiole — my nemesis of cheese pronunciations — came into the shop and I saw a recipe printed on the brown paper in which the cheese was wrapped.
After doing a little research, I realized that to make true aligot I was probably going to have to hop a plane to France.
It seems that true aligot is made with fresh, unsalted tomme. This is basically Laguiole that is consumed within 10 days of its production.
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Since the FDA still holds to its 60 day minimum aging on raw-milk cheese, we will not be seeing fresh, unsalted tomme in the States anytime soon.
Beyond that, the logistics and cost to get the cheese here would be ridiculous.
So I went with the next best thing, and that would be Laguiole. The cheese I had was of the 4 to 6 months variety. The flavor is pretty mild. I get flavors of fermented milk and hazelnuts.
It’s not a cheese I am drawn to put on a cheese board but, blended with potatoes, crème fraiche, butter and garlic, it shines.
When made with fresh tomme, aligot is a creamy puree that is fondue-like. It’s almost the consistency of polenta or grits. I got a very similar consistency using Laguiole, though not perfect, I am sure.
Aligot is traditionally served with sausage or beef, but it works great as a side dish for myriad meals. Try the recipe below.
Potatoes and cheese — you can’t go wrong.
Also check out the video below on how to pronounce Laguiole from people in the town of Laguiole. Its in French, but you can pick out a few different ways to say it.
14 ounces of Laguiole cheese
2 1/4 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes
3 garlic cloves
8.8 ounces crème fraiche
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Grate the cheese. Peel and boil the potatoes and garlic until tender. Mash the potatoes and garlic using a ricer or food mill — this ensures a smooth consistency. On low to medium heat, add the crème fraiche, butter and cheese. Stir in the potatoes and cook until the cheese is melted and combined. Salt and pepper to taste.
Lincoln Broadbooks loves cheese. He is one of the first cheesemongers in the United States and Canada to become an American Cheese Society-certified cheese professional. He is the manager and buyer for the Better Cheddar in Prairie Village. You can find him on Twitter @LincolnBbooks and on Instagram @lincycheese.