Jansson’s Temptation is a easy to make classic Swedish winter warmer. This version uses canned mackerel and is served with crunchy quick pickles.
Who doesn’t love a creamy potato bake in the winter? It is the ultimate comfort food – quick and easy to prepare, frugal and so delicious to eat on a cold dark evening.
This recipe is based on the traditional Swedish dish of Janssons frestelse, or Jasson’s temptation, a gratin of potato, onions, cream, picked spats topped with breadcrumbs. Quite often the recipe is mistranslated with anchovies being used in place of the spats.
I’ve given Jansson’s temptation a makeover, using Princes canned smoked mackerel, a touch of dill and par -boiling the potatoes so the whole dish cooks faster. I’ve also added a little cheese and some dill for that extra Scandinavian touch. Whilst the temptation is baking you can whip up a jar of lightly spiced quick pickles, for some freshness and crunch to offset the cream. The pickles are fast becoming my new favourite thing and will become a fixture in the fridge this winter.
We love oily fish and eat it several times a week, be it canned mackerel or sardines, or fresh smoked mackerel. I am really impressed with the Princes canned peppered wood smoked mackerel we used here, packed with flavour, and it has an excellent texture straight from the can, on a par with fresh smoked.
For the best results you need to slice your potatoes as thinly as you can, ideally you need a mandoline, I use a handheld one which you can buy for about £10. Once you get one you will use it all the time so it is a good investment. Please please please remember to use the finger guard, they are very sharp and it is horribly easy to cut yourself.
Once your ingredients are prepared simply layer them up in an oven-proof dish and top up with cream. This is a very easy and forgiving recipe, so use what you have. More potato, less potato, other root vegetables, different herbs, milk and butter in place of the cream, a little stock to make a dairy free version. Adapt to your taste, and the contents of your fridge.
I used a mix of cucumber and radish flavoured with cardamom, coriander and fresh dill, in my quick pickles. Simply slice as thinly as you can, then pop into some warm sweetened white wine vinegar to infuse. They are ready after 30 minutes, but will improve if you keep in the fridge overnight.
Jansson's Temptation is a easy to make classic Swedish winter warmer. This version uses canned mackerel and is served with crunch quick pickles.
- 4 medium potatoes (peeled & thinly sliced)
- 1 knob butter
- 1 medium onion (peeled & thinly sliced)
- 2 cans smoked mackerel fillets (drained and broken into flakes))
- 1 sprig dill
- 150 ml double cream
- 50 g Jarlesberg or other Scandinavian cheese (thinly sliced or grated)
- 60 ml white wine vinegar
- 30 g white sugar
- pinch sea salt
- 3 pods cardamom
- 1/2 tsp coriander seed
- 1 sprig dill
- 4 radishes (thinly sliced)
- 1/4 cucumber (thinly sliced)
Heat the oven to 190C / 180C fan / GM 5
Place the potatoes in a large pan of salted water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for two minutes, then drain.
Whilst the potatoes are cooking fry the onions in the butter until softened.
Layer the potato, onion, mackerel and a few dill leaves into oven proof dishes. Carry on until you have used all the ingredients.
Pour over the cream, top with the cheese, season well with pepper.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until golden brown.
Place the vinegar, sugar, salt, coriander and cardamom pods into a pan and gently heat until the sugar and salt have dissolved.
Add all the other ingredients and allow to cook before transferring to a jar in the fridge.
The Princes Mackerel range has a wide selection of flavours inspired by cuisines from all over the world – visit Princes Around the World to find out more.
Recipe for Mackerel Jansson’s Temptation commissioned by Princes. All opinions our own.