Although I lived with a Swedish friend for a year, I don't know anything about Scandinavian food. She wasn't much of a cook. Tubes of cod roe resided in the fridge and she had a penchant for Ryvita and ate mostly plain food, and this was my impression of it. I was keen to try this recipe out to see if there was any truth in this.
In Sweden, pickled sprats are used and the Swedish name for it is 'ansjovis'. Apparently these are available in Ikea, but as I haven't got one near, anchovies sufficed. I used the ones in oil, not fresh. This is a great dish to introduce those who are not so keen on anchovies, as they just melt into the dish and lend a deeply savoury quality to it.
It's not a very summery dish, but let's face it. Where's summer? The rain has been catching me unaware all week; I actually left the house with a short skirt and some nice cotton pumps on yesterday. Curses upon the rain.
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a side
A few large potatoes (I used King Edwards), sliced to about the thickness of a pound coin. I can't give exact measurements, but enough to fit your casserole dish
4 anchovies per layer of potato
1 white onion, sliced
2/3rds double cream, 1/3rd milk to cover
Softened butter, to dot over the top
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees C. Arrange the potato slices in a fish scale pattern. Scatter the onions over the layer and lay over the anchovies. Season with salt and pepper (don't use salt if you're using anchovies preserved in salt). Repeat until the dish is about 1" from the top. Mix te milk with the double cream to loosen, and pour over the potatoes until they just cover. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and dot with the butter. Bake for 45 mins - 1hr, until the potatoes are cooked through.
As I understand it, this is often served warm as part of a smorgasbord, but I like to eat gratin dishes as a big plateful, with a hefty green salad and a mustardy dressing on the side. It was gorgeous; velvety potato contrasted with the crunchy breadcrumbs was very pleasing indeed.