The Rare French Potato That's Perfect For Aligot

When you walk into the produce section of your grocery, you probably aren't surprised by all the different types of potatoes available for purchase. Russet, Yukon gold, fingerling ... the list goes on. There is one potato that we can guarantee you haven't seen, however: the Institut de Beauvais. With light brown skin and a white interior, it doesn't look like anything special, but this rare French potato variety is worth getting your hands on for at least one special dish called aligot.

Aligot is a French dish made by whipping potatoes together with butter, cream, and cheese until the combination achieves a stretchy, almost fondue-like consistency. To achieve this texture, the ideal potatoes to use need to contain a high amount of starch, as this is what emulsifies the cheese and gives the aligot a luxurious, silky quality. The Institut de Beauvais potato is a perfect fit here for this very reason — it is loaded with starchy goodness, and it has a mild buttery flavor that complements the dairy in the dish nicely.

How to make aligot

The approach to making aligot begins similarly to that of making traditional mashed potatoes. First, chop and boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, then mash them using your preferred method. Here's where things change: Scoop the mashed potatoes back into the pot with butter and cream, and then start adding in your choice of cheese little by little. If you don't have a fancy French cheese, try using mozzarella or Gruyère. Once all of the cheese is melted, keep stirring until the dish achieves a stretchy, silky consistency. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.

When it comes to adding the Institut de Beauvais potato to your grocery list, be advised you will definitely want to plan ahead. The tuber is in season from late summer into fall, but it's highly unlikely that you'll find it at any traditional market. Your best bet is to check with specialty European grocers in your area or to contact online vendors who deal in rare or foreign produce. If all else fails, alternative potatoes for making aligot include Yukon gold and russet.