What Makes Aligot Stand Out From Regular Mashed Potatoes

If you love mashed potatoes and you love cheese fondue, then you're going to want to get to know aligot, a cheesy French potato dish that is basically a combination of the two. As explained by Serious Eats, aligot hails from the south-central region of Aubrac, and it involves mashing potatoes and then working in quite a large amount of grated cheese (the outlet recommends both Swiss and Gruyère). A properly made aligot, Serious Eats explains, becomes incredibly thick and stretchy, much like a well-made cheese fondue: elastic enough, the outlet writes, "to stretch from pot to ceiling without breaking a strand."

So, what sets aligot apart from regular mashed potatoes is a hefty amount of cheese, and the way the finished dish stretches. But in order to attain that texture, aligot is prepared in a decidedly different way from the way you would make mashed potatoes, and the technique is yet another way that aligot differs from plain mashers.

Overmix the potatoes in aligot

In most mashed potato recipes, you're counseled not to overmix or overmash your potatoes, which can lead to leaden, gluey mashed potatoes. As explained by Kitchn, overworking potatoes leads them to release a lot of their starch, rendering them dense and sticky instead of light and fluffy. But with aligot, recipes indicate that you should actually strive to thoroughly mix the mashed potatoes, building up the starch content in the dish and lending it the stretchy texture that helps define it.

Serious Eats' recipe for aligot takes mashed potatoes — in this case, passed through a ricer — and works them quite thoroughly in a pan with butter and cream, stirring constantly in order to make the potatoes sticky. Then, the grated cheeses are folded in, and as the outlet explains, the cheese will not separate or "break" as melted cheeses sometimes do, since all that starch in the potatoes will bind the fat, protein, and water in the cheese together. So, if you've ever missed the mark on mashed potatoes or fondue, aligot is a one-stop recipe for combining the two into one foolproof hybrid.