It’s been a week since that story about the midsummer smorgasbord at Ikea ran, but after it came out, Dawn Riggestad, whom I met at the event and is featured in the article, sent me this recipe for Jansson’s Temptation, a traditional Swedish dish that Dawn and her husband, Hakan, love to make.
This recipe, originally printed in "Superbly Swedish" by Martha Wiberg-Thompson in 1983, comes from a woman named Margareta Mattsson, who at the time was a Ph.D. lecturer in Swedish and in Scandinavian Literature at Upsala College in New Jersey. Mattsson told Wiberg-Thompson: "Contrary to what is written, ordinary anchovies make very good Jansson’s. Just do not include the oil they are canned in. This dish should be served with Swedish knäckebrod (hardtack) and butter."
Riggestad says that she always buys the Swedish anchovies from IKEA, including the brine, and that while the casserole is baking, she pushes the outside in to the center several times during baking to get the potatoes evenly browned.
2 medium Spanish onions, sliced
3 Tbsp. butter or margarine, divided
4 to 5 medium potatoes
2 2-oz. cans anchovy fillets or 20 Swedish or Norwegian anchovy fillets (use a little of the salty brine if using Scandinavian anchovies)
1 1/2 cups whipping cream, divided
Saute the onions in 1 tablespoon butter until soft. Peel potatoes and slice lengthwise thinly, as for shoestring potatoes. Butter baking dish, layer potatoes, onions and anchovies, finishing with a layer of potatoes. Dot with remaining butter. Bake at 400 degrees, adding half of the cream after 10 minutes. Add the remainder of the cream after another 10 minutes. After 30 minutes reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. Casserole is ready when potatoes are soft. Serve immediately. Serves at least 10 as an appetizer. Freezes well; you may have to add a little more cream when reheating if dry.
— From "Superbly Swedish" by Martha Wiberg-Thompson