Monday 6 December 2010

T is for Temptation, Jansson's Temptation (Janssons Frestelse) Mrs Denise Nesbitt's ABC-Wednesday, Round 7 - T

All photos copyright Christina Wigren 2010

For obvious reasons, this is the post that Sara Cat refused to do. (Paws are not good enough; you need good working human hands here!) This is probably the very first recipe that I am posting on Anna's blog. So relish it! I won't do this so often (even though I do love to cook).

For different reasons, I'm late in posting. December is a very busy time for me. But I am still linking up with Denise Nesbitt's ABC-Wednesday, Round 7 -T (inspite of the fact that it is the following Monday).

But here it is, my T-word is Temptation, a recipe for 'Jansson's Temptation' a very Swedish potato-casserole called 'JANSSONS FRESTELSE' (which means literally 'Jansson's temptation'), that is a must for every genuine Swedish Christmas buffet (smörgåsbord).

Please don't ask me who 'Jansson' was/is. I don't know at this moment. But if anyone does know, you are welcome to leave that information in a comment. It was probably some chef who invented this recipe. Wait a moment, here is what I found on Wikipedia:

It has often been claimed[1] that the name originated with the opera singer Pelle Janzon (1844-1889), remembered as a gourmand. However, another claim[1] for the origin of the name has been made by Gunnar Stigmark in an article – "Så var det med Janssons frestelse" – which appeared in the periodical Gastronomisk kalender. According to Stigmark, the name was borrowed from the film Janssons frestelse (1928) featuring the popular actor Edvin Adolphson; as a name for this dish it was coined by Stigmark's mother and her hired cooking lady for the particular occasion of a society dinner, whence it spread to other households and eventually into cookbooks.

The dish is also very popular in Finland as Janssonin kiusaus, which also means literally "Jansson's temptation".

This is a photographic/pictorial step-by-step recipe using pictures taken by me in my humble kitchen. (No Googling or Wikipedia-help here! No, wait... For Wikipedia's recipe please click here and for information, and about the name Jansson's in English here and in Swedish please click here.)
These are the utensils that you will need:

Some kind of oven-proof glass or material baking dish that is low and long. I am making a two mini-temptations using smaller baking dishes, for the photos to save time, and you can do the same if you just want to test the recipe or make a variation of it. The large dish is approximately 11 x 7 1/8 inches (28 x 18 cm) and the smaller one is 5 1/2 x 7 1/8 inches (19x14cm).

A good potato-peeler and a kitchen knife and a cutting-board.

(You can also use a handkrank or machine cutter.

Make sure you choose the right setting, approximately for 'shoe-string french-frys'.)

A large enough bowl of cold water. (The bowl in this photo is too small. It only serves as an illustration.) I usually peel all of the potatoes first and put them in cold water so that they do not turn brown in the time it takes for me to peel and cut all of the potatoes into strips.

You can use a special separate cutting-board to cut, slice or chop the onion, or you can use an onion-dicer if you have one. I do not. I cut everything by hand with just a knife and a cutting board.
Ingredients for 4 portions:

8 to10 medium-sized firm potatoes. No floury over-sized Idaho baking-potatoes. Choose potatoes that have a firm consistency that could be used in, for example, potato-salad.

A tin of anchovy filets (20 filets). This may be hard for you to find depending upon where you live in the world. I have actually taken tins/cans with me on trips to visit relatives and friends in the US. If you have an Ikea-store near you, they may be able to help you. (But I don't know for sure, since I never have tried to ask them for help.)

Using the filets saves time. But, my mother taught me how to clean and filet the whole anchovies, so I know it is possible to use them if you only have un-fileted whole ones. It's like cleaning any fish except that these are very small.

Do not throw out the saucey liquid that the filets come in. We will be using it for flavouring. It's the ingredient that 'makes or breaks' this dish. So it is important that you find a tin of anchoves. (I have tried flavouring Jansson's with capers, and it just does not work! It is not the same to take any old salty thing! But there is a recipe for 'vegetarian' Jansson's Temptation! )

Approximately 1 1/3 cup (3dl) of heavy cream or cream with milk or milk.

Two medium-sized yellow onions/Spanish onions (allium cepa), sliced or finely chopped.

One or two tablespoons of butter or margarine .(I prefer butter.)

One tablespoon bread crumbs, unseasoned. (I usually take piece of crisp bread (knäckebröd) and crush with a mortar and pestle.)

What to do:
1. Grease your oven-proof dish.

2. Peel the potatoes and put them in the cold water bowl while you do the next step.

3. Chop your onion(s).

4. Cut the first potato(s) into the right size strips and lay them in the bottom of your baking dish.

If you find that the knife sticks to the potatoes when cutting making it difficult, wipe your knife between cuts with a little salad oil. Put some oil on a 'Wettex'-cloth on a flat dish by your cutting board. It makes cutting easier. (I learned this from Tina Nordström's cooking-program on TV. Tina på Wikipedia. Please note that I also have a blog called 'Tinas Smycken'; but I am not Tina Nordström!)

5. Sprinkle pieces of onion over the thin layer of potato-strips.

6. Lay the anchovies filets over the onions and potatoes.

7. Lay more layers of onions and potatoes until you don't see the anchovies anymore.

8. Mix the liquid from the anchovies tin with the heavy cream and pour it all over the potato-onion-anchovy-layers. It will sink to through to the bottom of your dish.

9. Put some bits (about a tablespoon) of butter here and there over the potato-onion-cream-anchovies mix.

10. Distribute some finely crushed bread crumbs over everything.

11. Bake in oven at 225 degrees Celsius (437 degrees Fahrenheit) for 45 minutes.

(Cover with aluminium folie for the first 35 minutes and then remove for the last 10 minutes to get a golden brown colour.)

12. You can eat it warm or cooled to room temperature. You can reheat it the next day.(Add milk for moisture.) And you can freeze it in a couple of plastic bags for a couple of months.
Jansson's Temptation is a great as a side dish for a Christmas buffet (smörgåsbord) or main dish with sausage or a cold slice of Christmas ham, a tossed sallad and a glass of beer for a midnight snack on New Year's Eve.

Try it ahead of time first, if you have never made this or even tasted it. Not everybody outside of Sweden likes it. But please follow the recipe before you start experimenting. Do not add extra salt or peppar. The cream, onions and anchovies are the only seasonings you need.

Good luck!
Best wishes,

First Commenter:
Ann of
Ann's Snap Edit & Scrap

Second Commenter:
Lisa of
Alterity Button Jewelry

Third Commenter:
RuneE of
Visual Norway

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