Sunday, December 06, 2009
Janssons Frestelse aka Jansson's Temptation - a tasty potato gratin from Sweden
Jansson's frestelse, 2011
Did you know that the 'ansjovis' in Jansson's Temptation, the ever-popular creamy Swedish potato gratin, is not anchovis (Engraulis encrasicolus), but sprat (Sprattus sprattus)? Sprats in brine have been called 'ansjovis' in Sweden since 17th century, which is obviously rather confusing for an English-speaking recipe translator. That's why you see 'anchovies' in most English recipes. However, the Swedish 'ansjovis' are pickled in a rather sweet brine, so substituting regular anchovies wouldn't give you the same flavour sensation. It'd be still a tasty potato gratin, but not the same..
Luckily you can find Swedish ansjovis at the food aisle of your nearest IKEA - alongside cloudberry and lingonberry jam and gingerbread cookies.
(For my readers in Estonia - I used "Kipperi anšoovis" - a sprat preserve with a highest sugar content).
Jansson's frestelse, 2009
1 kg potatoes, peeled and cut into thick matchsticks
3 large onions
100 g spiced and pickled Swedish 'ansjovis' (sprat filets)
500 ml (2 cups) whipping cream/heavy cream
3-4 Tbsp breadcrumbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes and cut into thick matchsticks (I used my food processor for that).
Peel the onions and cut into thin slices. Fry in butter for about 5 minutes, but do not brown.
Butter a large oven dish, spread half of the potato over the base. Cover with fried onion slices, place 'ansjovis' filets on top.
Cover with the rest of the potatoes. Season moderately with salt and pepper.
Pour over the cream - you may need a bit more or a bit less - it depends on the size of the dish you're using. You want the cream to almost cover the potatoes.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top and dot some butter slices over the breadcrumbs.
Bake in a preheated 220 C oven for about 1 hour.
Remove from the oven, let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve either alongside a green salad or a meat roast.
Jõulud kodus ("Christmas at Home"), published in Estonian in November 2011.