Janssons Frestelse is a Swedish casserole made with potatoes, onions, cream, bread crumbs and pickled sprats. It is often eaten on special occasions, particularly the Swedish Christmas dinner called Julbord. Janssonin kiusaus is the name of the dish in Finland, which translates to ' Jannsons Temptation', and is very popular. Sprats are responsible for the characteristic flavor of this Swedish casserole. Sprats are a kind of small oily fish that are often used in preserved form as an ingredient in European cooking. In Sweden, the dish is simply referred to as Jannsons, and the first recipe for the dish was published in 1940.
There are two theories about the origin of the dish's name. One states that it was named after the popular opera singer Pelle Janzon (1844-1889), who is remembered as a gourmand. The other theory, mentioned in the article "Så var det med Janssons frestelse" by Gunnar Stigmark states that the dish was named after a film of 1928 named 'Janssons frestelse', which also featured the famous actor Edvin Adolphson. As per Stigmark, the name was borrowed from the film by his mother who prepared it for a social dinner with the help of her chef.
Ingredients and Preparation
Julienned potatoes, onions, cream, butter, bread crumbs and sprats are the main ingredients suggested by the Janssons Frestelse recipe. Seasoning of salt and pepper are used. Sprats, which are often mistaken for anchovies, have softer texture than anchovies and are preserved using sweet and spiced brine. Sprats are often available in specialty food stores in Europe.
The preparation involves layering potatoes in a roasting tin or casserole dish with alternating layers of sprats and onions and enough cream to fill the tin, and breadcrumbs with butter at the top. Potatoes used are julienned into thin strips and onions are fried before use. Salt and pepper are added on each layer. The ingredients are baked at 200 degrees Celsius for about an hour to prepare the casserole. The dish is considered done when the potatoes are soft and the color of the dish is golden brown.
Janssons Frestelse is served hot, traditionally as a part of Swedish Christmas smorgasbord buffet or as a party snack. It serves as a perfect food for cold winter evenings.
Chefs like to experiment with the basic Janssons Frestelse. Regular anchovies or even smoked salmon is substituted in place of sprats as per some recipe variations. Though the dish does not taste the same by using these ingredients, it still tastes quite delicious and is liked by many.
A single serving of Janssons Frestelse contains about 325 calories, 19g fat and 70mg cholesterol, exact calorie count varying with recipe.
The traditional Janssons Frestelse recipe is often erroneously translated into English by mentioning use of anchovies instead of sprats. This is because the Swedish name for pickled sprats is ' ansjovis'. Actual anchovies are known in Sweden by the name of ' sardeller'.