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Thursday 19 January 2012

Sluttishly Savoury: Jansson's Temptation

Anchovies are a controversial fish. You either love them or hate them. I happen to love them, and I think the salty little blighters make this Swedish potato dish even tastier than a bog-standard dauphinoise. Others say they're the devil's food, in which case they should probably not try Jansson's Temptation (just make a Tartiflette instead).

As you can see from the photo, this dish has the tendency to bubble up and overflow, so I'd advise putting some foil on the bottom of the oven before you start. Because while anchovies are love/hate, I think we can all agree that cleaning the oven is most definitely a universal HATE!

What's your take on anchovies? Salty morsels of joy or tiny bony fish of Satan?

Jansson's Temptation (serves 4-6 as a side)

You'll need:
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • Butter (or better still, goose fat) for frying
  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 30g can of anchovy fillets, drained
  • 300ml double cream
  • Breadcrumbs or grated cheese (optional)
Make it!
  • Preheat the oven to 200c / Gas 5.
  • Fry the onions gently in the butter (or goose fat) for around 20 minutes. They should be soft but not browned. Set aside.
  • Butter a baking dish, then layer in the potatoes, then some onion, then some anchovies. Pour some cream over.
  • Repeat the layers, finishing with cream.
  • Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and/or grated cheese if you like.
  • Bake for around an hour, until golden and bubbling.


  1. Used correctly I think anchovies are amazing. My dad cooks them with everything from steak to greek salad and it makes such a difference.

  2. I'm getting used to anchovies - I think I like them sparingly. I've only had this dish once before (in the famed Eagle in London, slightly overrated in my opinion). It's just too strong for me. Still, if I was making it myself I could use as many as I liked.

  3. Ida in Sweden (no, not Inga)19 January 2012 at 12:23

    As a Swede, I am overjoyed to see this gem of a dish featured here.

    A word of warning though - "real" Jansson does not have anchovy. It has another fish (from the herring family, Sprattus sprattus, to be more exact) which is, to make matters very complex, CALLED ansjovis in Swedish. The little sprattus sprattus is put in a marinade with spices such as cinnamon, sandal wood, pepper, cardamom.... and is today mainly used in Jansson, and sold in abundance come Christmas, Easter and Mindsummer. Jansson is a holiday staple over here.

    Anchovy is nice and all but cannot really compete.

    Also, NEVER put cheese on a Jansson. It just isn't done.

    That is all. ;-)

  4. OMG, i love it! I used to eat Jansson while i lived in Sweden. Always wondered how to make it!


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