Thursday, 14 August 2008


When I saw a recipe recently for Janssen's Temptation, I was very tempted indeed. Potatoes, cream and anchovies; it instantly appealed.

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.

Janssen's Temptation

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.


Anonymous said...

I bookmarked a recipe for this recently, can't wait to try it. Looks great.

Anonymous said...

I adore anchovies and this looks a suitably sinful way to enjoy them - now that I am doing all that exercising ;) There is an Ikea in Croydon by the way - for God's sake don't ever go there. Seriously.

Hollow Legs said...

It's hugely calorific, but never mind!

I went to the Ikea in Croydon. Never again. Especially on public transport!

Anonymous said...

Excellent: that takes care of the tin of anchovies in the fridge. I was seriously thinking they might be eaten in the van while I moved!

Helen said...

Like Ginger I also have a version of this in my "to Cook" file. Its looks so so good.

Ikea in Croydon is my idea of double hell.

Rachel said...

I just saw this recipe in Olive magazine and decided to cook it for dinner tonight, anything with cream and anchovies gets my vote.
Its a similar idea to this fish pie by Jamie Oliver - delicious!
Ps: I love ikea, we got a dinner set there for about £5!

Anonymous said...

They have a similar version in Finland. The recipe differs slightly in that you add a few whole black peppercorns to each layer and some smoked bacon which you have cut into strips browned off, again sprinkled in each layer. Served with salad and a splash of etikka (spirit vinegar).