Jansson's Temptation, a riot of potato, cream and salted fish must be Swedens' most epic contribution to the comfort food repertoire. I have been putting it together amateurishly for some time, but the recipe below comes from the authoritative pen of Tore Wretman, godfather of Swedish cooking. A jar or tin of anchovies will certainly work, but it's well worth looking online for ansjovisfileer, which are not anchovies at all, but sprats.
If you're in a hurry, as I invariably am to tuck into this, you can shorten the cooking time by softening the potato and onion in a little of the anchovy oil before layering them in the dish, but I wouldn't upset Mr Wretman by calling it authentic. Either way, with baked salmon, lamb or beef or just as it is, I guarantee it will light up your evening and warm your cockles.
For 4 people
- 6 potatoes (eg King Edward or
similar firm potatoes)
- 2 yellow onions
- 14-16 anchovy fillets
- 1 tbsp butter for the ovenproof dish
- 1.5dl (ie 150ml) whipping cream
- 0.5dl (ie 50ml) milk
- 1tbsp anchovy liquid, or oil from
- 1-2 tbsp finely sifted dry
Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6 (adjust the temperature if you have a fan oven). Peel the potatoes and cut them into julienne, or fine strips. Peel the onion and slice very thinly. Cut the anchovies into smaller bits. Butter a shallow ovenproof dish and layer in the potatoes, onions and anchovies, finishing with potatoes. Pour over the cream, milk and anchovy liquid. Spread the sifted breadcrumbs evenly across the surface. Cook in the oven for 50-60 minutes, by which time the potatoes should be tender.
If serving it on its own, or with baked salmon, a Saint-Péray or similar white Rhône is delicious but a buttery Cape white would work too. For meatier dinners, I'd also move towards the Rhône, specifically the south and the triumvirate of grenache, mourvèdre and syrah which the rest of the world has taken to its heart too - witness Blind Spot Rutherglen Grenache-Shiraz- Mataro.