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November 1998
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Jansson's Temptation

The following is from a Time/Life book, "The Cooking of Scandinavia". The book saith:

"There are many stories as to how Jansson's Temptation got its name. According to one, the dish is named after Erik Janson, the 19th century Swedish religious zealot and self-appointed prophet who took his disciples to America and founded a colony called Bishop Hill in Illinois. Although adamantly opposed to the pleasures of the flesh, one day Janson found himself so sorely tempted by this crusty dish that he threw over his principles to eat some -- in secret, of course. And as the tale goes, he was caught in the act by a disillusioned follower. The story is a good one but undoubtedly apocryphal..."

There are sundry accounts of the origin of the name. Once account is that it was named after Pelle Janzon, a Swedish opera singer around the turn of the century. Another is that is named after a Swedish film named 'The temptation of Jansson'

Jansson's Frestelse (Jansson's Temptation)

Serves 4 to 6

7 medium boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into strips 2 inches long and 1/4 inch thick
2 1/2 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 to 3 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (4 cups)
16 flat anchovy fillets, drained
White pepper
2 Tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs2 Tablespoons butter, cut into 1/4 inch bits
1 cup light cream
1/2 cup milk
flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the potato strips in cold water to keep them from discoloring. Heat 2 Tb butter and 2 Tb vegetable oil in a 10 to 12- inch skillet. When the foam subsides, add the onions and cook 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until they are soft but not brown.

With a pastry brush or paper towel, spread a 1 1/2 to 2-quart souffle dish or baking dish with the remaining half Tablespoon of butter. Drain the potatoes and pat them dry with paper towels. Arrange a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the dish and then alternate layers of onions and anchovies, ending with potatoes. Sprinkle each layer with a little white pepper and a little flour. Scatter breadcrumbs over the top layer of potatoes and dot the casserole with the 2 Tb of butter cut into bits. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and cream until it barely simmers, then pour over the potatoes. Bake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife and the liquid is nearly absorbed.


This page was last updated November 5, 1998.

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November 1998
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