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Janssons Frestelse

Janssons Frestelse (Swedish potato and cream casserole)

(Swedish potato, onion and cream casserole)

Image Creative Commons by hepp

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The name of this creamy potato side dish (YAHN-sonz FREH-stel-suh)is Swedish for "Jansson's temptation." It's not really clear just who Jansson was — either a 19th century opera singer, or a character in an early 20th century Swedish film. Either way, an entire nation was tempted in the end.

Janssons frestelse is particularly popular for Christmas, but you'll find it served at special occasions year round.

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

  • Potatoes, peeled -- 2 pounds
  • Butter -- 4 tablespoons
  • Onions, thinly sliced -- 2
  • Swedish preserved sprats, rinsed (see variations) -- 1 (3.5-ounce) tin
  • Heavy cream -- 3 cups
  • Salt and white pepper -- to season
  • Bread crumbs -- 1/2 cup

Method

  1. Oven to 375°F. Slice the potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds, then cut the rounds into 1/4-inch strips.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a saute pan or skillet over medium flame. Add the onions and saute onions until wilted and translucent but not browned, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  3. Butter a deep casserole dish on the butter and sides. Layer one third of the potatoes evenly over the bottom of the casserole, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Next spread one half of the onions over the potatoes, and half the sprats over the onions, lightly seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Spread another third of the potatoes in the dish, followed by the remaining onions and the rest of the sprats and finishing with the rest of the potatoes, seasoning each layer.
  4. Bring the cream to a simmer in a saucepan, then pour it evenly into the casserole dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top of the potatoes. Dot the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over the breadcrumbs.
  5. Place the casserole on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through and the dish is browned and bubbling.

Janssons Frestelse Variations

  • Sprats: Recipes for Janssons frestelse in English often call for anchovies, but this is a mistranslation. For authenticity, sprats preserved in oil (ansjovis in Swedish) should be used. You can find Swedish sprats for sale online or at your local Ikea in the food section. Nonetheless, if you can't find true ansjovis, regular anchovies, rinsed well in fresh water, can substitute.

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