Jansson’s Frestelse

scandanavianAka Jansson’s Temptation. This dish was mentioned on the comments to this post and although I was not overly enthusiastic about it then, when I found a recipe for it in the Time Life Scandanavian cookbook (1969)  I felt obliged to give it a go.




  • I halved the amounts.
  • I think I chopped the potatoes a little thicker than a quarter inch
  • Anchovies. I’ve never cooked with these before, or even bought them. I used a leading supermarket’s own brand.
  • Generally straighforward assembly, painless etc etc

The result


Doesn’t it look nice? Yeah well, it tasted vile. Absolutely vile. No redeeming qualities. A waste of  good potato and onion. A straight to the bin and do not pass go FAIL of a dish. I ate one spoonful and left the rest of the FOUR portions I’d made. I couldn’t even think how to make it into another dish that I could countenance eating. It was the anchovies that was the problem, bony, salty, much too intense a flavour, I wondered if I had got the amounts right, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t go over what the recipe specified.  Jansson must have been a queer bird indeeed to have been tempted by this monstrosity.

Untempted by Alix

7 responses to “Jansson’s Frestelse

  1. I’m going to be really annoying now.

    The word ‘anchovy’ in the recipe is a false-friend (i.e. word which sounds the same in two languages but actually means 2 different things), mistranslated by the author. The original recipe doesn’t require anchovies but sprats.

    For further info, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janssons_frestelse

  2. I often make something very like this for dinner as it’s cheap and filling and I am obsessed by anchovies…I did not know it had a name…

    I cannot imagine how heinous this dish would be with sprats. And I love sprats…

  3. Goddamn translation. Can’t really imagine enjoying it with sprats either.

  4. That’s a lot of anchovies (if you’re using those and not sprats). Moderation is best with them…

    Sprats would be vile. A level of vileness that words cannot covey in fact.

  5. Do the Swedes use fresh, i.e. non-salted, anchovies?

    Potatoes + fish? Stick to fish pie or fish’n’chips.

    Bravery award for the attempt!

  6. I’ve had this dish several times, courtesy of Swedish friends who cook. It’s a great au gratin potato dish, whether you use sprats or anchovies. All extremely good. The cream offsets the potentially fishy flavor.

  7. I make this recipe all the time. But I make it with Swedish anchovies from Ikea. People who don’t like anchovies love it. My German husband loves it. My Swedish and Finnish friends who have grandmothers and mothers who made this dish for them for years ASK me for the recipe. My Swedish friends invite me to parties just to bring this dish. 😉 And I’m Italian….