RISE & SHINE KAUT43 OKC
Saint Patrick’s Day is upon us, and what better way to explore Irish inspired food… than with a French potato recipe?!
In all honesty there are some good traditional Irish recipes out there. Great meals from the classic Shepherd’s Pie, to Irish Soda Bread, or the famous buttery, loaded with green goodness, mashed potato dish called Colcannon.
All that is great. Knowing a few Irish folks myself (like still in Ireland, Irish), and having researched restaurants in Ireland, the Irish are pretty adventurous people when it comes to eating. As one of my lucky green friends told me “We’ve never had much of a food sense other than the potato and fish, and dairy, with the occasional meat or mutton. We tend to pull food ideas from other countries, mostly European, and make them ours. Kind of like what you do in America.”
Okay, well that sounds fair. I didn’t want to come up with a new way to make Shepherd’s Pie anyway. But I will tell you what I will do… I will explore a mainstay in the Irish diet this Saint Patrick’s Day. I will play with the glorious potato and pull from the "mother country" of great culinary classics... FRANCE!
Pommes Aligot or simply Aligot (Ali-Go) is a magical potato puree (“mashed taters” for my Creek County friends) that can only be described as the love child of the potato….. and cheese fondue. Aligot comes from South Central France in the Auvergne region and traditionally made with cheese in the Tomme family. Tomme cheeses are produced in the Swiss Alps area of France and Switzerland, and according to what “town” they are produced in gives you the designation of the cheese. Such as Tomme de Savoie… the cheese I am using in my recipe.
NOW, why am I hitting y’all with this fancy sounding cheese? 1. Knowledge is power! Expand your world and try something other than pre bagged shredded cheese. I’m not mad at pre shredded cheese, I just want you to try something different on occasion. 2. Tomme cheeses are unique, delicious, and traditionally used in Aligot recipes. Their earthy, buttery, and creamy flavor are perfect for smooth and stretchy aligot. 3.Lastly, Tomme de Savoie can be found right here in OKC…well, technically Nichols Hills…but right here! *Realistically if tomme de savoie it is too hard to find where you are, substituting with Gruyère or Cantal cheese will work in a pinch.
En Croûte fromagerie and restaurant, having recently opened in Nichols Hills Plaza, is becoming one of my favorite “wining and dining” spots in the OKC area. Not only a great spot to find those deliciously wonderful European cheeses like the Tomme de Savoie I'm using today, but also sporting a creative and delicious breakfast to dinner menus headed up by Chef Jonathon Stranger. Wine and Spirit offerings… Formidable! Dessert menu…Magnifique! It’s a a walk down Avenue George V in Paris, branching off into a side street , and stumbling into a fresh new neighborhood bistro with banquette and bar seating, navy blue walls with crème fraîche trim, and brightly colored art accented on the walls. Okay, it’s just Nichols Hills Plaza and not Chanel’s atelier (My old “Scotty’s Restaurant” stomping grounds too btw), but it is a fantastic place. I HIGHLY encourage you to stop in and give en Croûte a try. They also make great cheese and charcuterie trays for your cocktail parties, so please keep that in mind as well.
Okay, where were we? St. Patrick’s day? Oh yes…. ALIGOT!
4 large (1 1/2-2 pounds) golden Yukon potatoes, unpeeled
2 cloves garlic smashed and minced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
12 ounces heavy cream warmed
8 ounces Tomme de Savoie cheese, shredded (may substitute with Gruyère or Cantal)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella shredded
Salt and Pepper or my favorite In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line” Seasoning to taste
- Wash the potatoes well and quarter them. Because I use a “ricer” when making mashed potatoes and because skin adds flavor, I do not peel the potatoes before cooking. Using a ricer will leave the skins behind. If you do not have (get one) or use (start using one) a ricer, peel the potatoes first before boiling. Start them in cold salted water and bring to boil. Cook until knife tender and drain the potatoes.
- Rice the potatoes back into the pot, and make sure the pot is on low heat. The secret to keeping Aligot stretchy and cheesy and also getting everything melted, is to keep it hot. If not it will cease up on you. Add the chilled butter and a little warm cream then start mixing. Mix until smooth and alternate between the butter and cream.
- Add the minced garlic and mix in. Next, add small handfuls of the cheese alternating between the two and mix in well. Once one round is mixed in add another small handful. Keep working the cheese, developing the cheesy elasticity, unit all the cheese is in the Aligot . If the Aligot is a little stiff work in more heated cream. Taste for seasoning and add if needed.
- Serve the aligot with grilled sausages, roasted meats, or my favorite… roast pork loin!