Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Jansson's Temptation (or Jansson's Frestelse or Jansson's Kiusaus)

I try to keep looking at the silver lining associated with my husband's ridiculous amount of work travel. Besides the obvious benefit of beaucoup frequent flyer miles, his exposure to new countries and cultures has translated in delicious learning experiences here at home. This week is his first time in Scandinavia, and my friends who are from/live there insisted that Jansson's Temptation is a must for us to vicariously experience a proper meal from this part of the world.
For those unfamiliar with this Jansson's Temptation (as I was a few short days ago) it's a potato and onion casserole-like dish which contains Swedish anchovies, aka sprats. It's a bonus that our new dish to try contains seafood - no doubt a pleaser for my kids. Unfortunately, yes, as I sit here typing after assembling and putting this in the oven, my fingers decidedly smell like pickled sprats. Hopefully seventeen more washings will erase that aroma. (Note: it only took four.)
Procuring Swedish anchovies, I'm told, is key. Substituting regular anchovies is not acceptable, namely because it's not even the same fish. After reading this adventure of trying to locate them in NYC, I was a bit concerned if I would be able to find them in Houston. Luckily, we have Ikea, so in 65 minutes I was back home with the goods. And, some crisp bread to eat with it, as advised by said friends. (And some ligonberry preserves, what I'm planning to do with them is still TBD.)
There seemed to be several variations of this recipe around the web. But the one I made was (more or less) followed exactly from Rebecca, who claims authenticity through her Finnish husband. My kids thought it was a hit. Spencer declared Jansson's Temptation to be "AWE-SOME!" and Charlotte was fascinated with the crisp bread.

Jansson's Temptation
from Kaarle & Rebecca Rautio

2 large baking potatoes (peeled and cut into matchsticks)
1 large onion (diced small or sliced thin)
1 1/2 - 2 Cups cream
1 tin Swedish anchovies (diced, reserve liquid)
1 tomato (sliced)
salt & white pepper

Chop the potatoes into matchsticks and dice the onion. Put all of this into a bowl and combine well.

Pour half of the potato/onion mix into a well-buttered casserole dish. Layer with diced anchovies. Season with white pepper and a bit of salt, if you like. Dot with butter (cut into small pieces). Pour remainder of potatoes on top. Again, add a little white pepper and salt, if you like.

Pour anchovy "juice" over casserole and then pour cream over. Liquids should be about half the depth of the dish. Place slices of tomato on top of casserole, dot with butter and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Cover with foil and bake for about an hour. Uncover and bake just a bit more to let top become brown.

In traditional style, you must serve this with some dark rye bread, butter, sliced cheese (for the bread), and a nice green salad! Hyvaa Ruokahalua! (Enjoy your meal!)

No comments:

Post a Comment