There are conflicting stories as to where and whom this dish came from. The only agreement that it was a Swede named Jansson. The two most prevalent, and probable, are from America and Sweden:
In Sweden, the dish has often been associated with the opera singer Per Adolf “Pelle” Janzon (1844–1889), remembered as a true Swedish gourmand.
In America, Craig Claiborne, a food writer for the New York times, posits that the 19th century Swedish religious leader, Erik Janson, led his followers to found a community in Illinois called Bishop Hill. Mr. Janson preached staunchly against the pleasures of the flesh and appetite. Unfortunately for him, he also had a weakness for a particular potato and anchovy dish. He was caught red-handed more than once gleefully devouring the dish so ravenously that his reputation was ruined but the temptation of Jansson lived on.
Jansson’s Temptation- Swedish Creamed Anchovy Potatoes
- Oval casserole dish (13x8x2-inches is ideal)
- 2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled
- 3½ oz Can anchovy in oil (Sub: sprats)
- 1½ cup Onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp Coarse black pepper
- 1½ cup Heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Cut peeled potatoes into ¼-inch slices. Stack slices and cut into ¼-inch strips like thin French fries.
- Cover the bottom of a baking dish with half of the potatoes. Remove anchovy fillets from can, break them into 3-4 pieces each. Scatter anchovies over potatoes. Pour remaining liquid from the can over that and then scatter onions and half the pepper over that. A add a final layer with the the remaining potatoes. Pour the cream over everything and sprinkle with remaining pepper.
- Place dish in the oven and bake until potatoes are done, about 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and serve warm.
- 4 tbsp of bread crumbs may be added on top prior to baking.