Jansson’s temptation (Janssons frestelse) is a traditional Swedish gratin-style dish made of potatoes, leek or onion, anchovies or sprats and cream. This dish is also common in Finland and known as “Jannssonin kiusaus”. At least here in Finland Jansson’s temptation has been used as a late night dish, which obviously means that it was eaten very late at night, for example when having a party continuing far into the small hours of the night and guests are starting to feel like having something salty. Jansson’s was a good choice to serve and it still is.
I recently came across the following claim: “NEVER make the mistake of using anchovies, as many English-language recipes suggest. The Swedish word ‘ansjovis’ actually means sprats, not anchovies. Whoever originally translated it that way condemned many a poor person to a very salty dish!” I really do not agree: anchovies are just excellent when used in this dish (I have always used them, not sprats because they are really tasteless compared with anchovies). The only important thing to remember is that you should not use too much of anchovies: too much of them can be really overwhelming, and you can’t talk about a great taste sensation any more.
I can recall my mother making Jannsson’s Temptation on several occasions, but never as a late night snack, it was more the main dish of the banquet table. I too make Jansson’s as an everyday dish, quite often as well now that my children have moved out. They didn’t like this one very much because of the taste of anchovies and they ate it reluctantly… if at all.
Most of the recipes advise you to use regular yellow onions. I have learned my way of making Jansson’s from my mother and she used only leak, absolutely leak and even lots of it.