Jansson's temptation - Swedish anchovy and potato gratin recipe

Jansson's temptation - Swedish anchovy and potato gratin recipe

Substantial enough to be a meal in itself, Jansson’s temptation (Janssons frestelse) also works well as a side dish with roast lamb or pork, game birds or sautéed white fish. The secret to this dish lies in using the right anchovies.

Look for Swedish ansjos (technically sprats, but hey, the Swedes call them anchovies) which are pickled in a sweetly savoury, spicy brine and have a milder, more delicate flavour than Italian or Spanish anchovies. The Swedish brand Abba are my favourites, and not just because of the name.

I like to use waxy potatoes like Desiree for this dish, but if you prefer a floury potato then I’d use King Edwards or Maris Piper. Krisprolls are toasted Swedish rolls which are used like crispbread – if you can’t lay your hands on them, use melba toast instead. You will need a 2 litre shallow Pyrex dish or other ovenproof pan for this recipe, and a mandoline slicer makes life a little easier for slicing the potatoes.

Recipes extracted from Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking... Scandilicious by Signe Johansen, out now published by Saltyard Books, £20.


  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tin Abba anchovies
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 200ml (7 fl oz) crème fraiche
  • 170ml (6 fl oz) double cream
  • 75g (2.6 oz) white Krisprolls (or melba toast), crushed
  • 25g (0.9 oz) butter to top


  • Cuisine: Scandinavian
  • Recipe Type: Accompaniment
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 0 mins
  • Cooking Time: 0 mins
  • Serves: 8


  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC/170ºC fan/gas mark 5. Butter the ovenproof dish and set aside.
  2. Sweat the chopped onion in oil in a medium frying pan over a low heat for 5-8 minutes until soft and translucent.
  3. Chop the anchovies in half and cut the potatoes in 5mm-thick slices (using a mandoline if you have one).
  4. Lay one-third of the potato slices to cover the base of the baking dish and scatter half the anchovies and a quarter of the onion on top.
  5. Cover with half the remaining potato slices and then scatter with the rest of the anchovies and another quarter of the onion. Top with a final layer of potato slices.
  6. Tip the remaining half of cooked onion in to a small saucepan, add the crème fraiche, double cream and a good pinch of salt and white pepper and then heat gently until it starts to simmer.
  7. Pour the warm cream mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle with the crushed Krisproll to cover. Dot this crunchy crust with the butter and season with a little salt before placing in the oven to cook for 45-50 minutes, after which time it should look golden brown and crispy on top. Serve while piping hot.

More Nordic recipes

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Blueberry tart with rye recipe

Hot smoked trout salad

Parsnip and sesame flatbreads recipe



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