Jansson’s temptation

Jansson’s temptation

The New Nordic
4 as a side dish
Simon Bajada


Quantity Ingredient
1 medium to large onion, thinly sliced
50g salted butter, plus extra for frying and greasing
600g potatoes, peeled
125g tinned sprats or herring in sweet brine
200-250ml pouring cream
pinch white pepper
35g dry breadcrumbs


  1. Sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon butter for 4–6 minutes, or until soft and golden. Do not let it brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Cut the potatoes into matchsticks. This is easily done using a food processor fitted with a julienne disc, a mandoline or another slicing device. Make sure you have at least 500 g potato matchsticks. If you like, you can plunge the potato briefly into cold water to remove some of the starch. This will prevent the potato from sticking together too much while the dish is cooking. Drain thoroughly.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Reserving the brine, drain the sprat fillets.
  4. Grease a shallow, 2–3 litre gratin dish with butter. Spread about one-third of the potato matchsticks across the base then top with half the sprats and half the onions. Repeat the layers, finishing with a layer of potato.
  5. Mix half the cream with 2 tablespoons of the reserved brine and the white pepper. Pour the mixture over the ingredients in the gratin dish then dot the surface with half of the butter. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove from the oven and pour the rest of the cream over the top. If the gratin still seems very moist, you may not need to use all of the cream; on the other hand, you may need to use extra if it has started to dry out. Scatter over the breadcrumbs and dot with the remaining butter. Bake for a further 15–30 minutes, until the gratin has a creamy soft consistency and the top is nicely browned. The timing will depend mostly on the size and depth of your baking dish – keep an eye on it during baking to ensure it doesn’t dry out.
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