This potato casserole is creamy, melty and easy to make

One in all Sweden’s most scrumptious exports, Janson’s Temptation, also referred to as Janson’s Fristless, is a creamy potato casserole flavored with wilted onions and umami-packed canned sprats. As for the origin of the Swedish basic, it’s typically served with schnapps as a part of a schnapps Christmas desk (“The Christmas Desk”), there are some theories. One suggests it was named after a 1928 Edvin Adolfsson movie, whereas a fair older one says it was named after Swedish opera singer Per Adolf Janszon — “not very seemingly,” based on Swedish meals author Jens Linder. What we do know, Linder says, is that the lure of anise did not seem on the Christmas desk till World Battle II, and solely established itself as a vacation meals within the Seventies.

Maybe essentially the most tempting factor about anise is the potato. They’re minimize into lengthy, slim matchsticks, like French fries, permitting the cream to fully coat their starchy nooks and crannies. Whereas Linder prefers skinny cuts of meat, as in restaurant iterations of the dish, his co-author, TV chef Joanna Westman, says she prefers them thick, as in her grandmother Alva’s recipe. The recipe within the vacation cookbook, “The Swedish Christmas Desk,” requires quarter-inch batons. For a dish with so few substances—potatoes, onions, canned fish, breadcrumbs, and cream—the customization prospects are limitless.

For instance, sprats aren’t for everybody, and I do not subscribe to the “do not inform folks they’re there” college of hiding substances in cooking. It is one strategy to lose belief in your company. However right here, I could not suggest it extra extremely, not least as a result of canned Swedish sprat, or angiovese, is nothing just like the salty, reddish-brown anchovies we eat within the States. It is a milder younger herring that does not make the casserole style fishy in any method; They simply add long-lasting style and saltiness with out the necessity for added salt. The creamy fish brine is perfumed with heat spices, like nutmeg and cinnamon, and the sprats themselves soften into oblivion after baking for a very long time. Common anchovies work in a pinch, or you’ll be able to go away the fish out altogether, Westman says. Her household’s Christmas lunch contains two variations of anise temptation (one with sprats, one with out), and naturally schnapps and singing.

Stirs one thing in folks.

Not too long ago, whereas tempting anise with my mom, Jane, for the primary time, I watched her take away a single anchovy from the can with chopsticks and place it, gingerly, on a spoonful of chilly white rice from the rice cooker. After she loved it, she advised me how a lot her father cherished consuming canned fish on the dinner desk and the way she inherited her love for them. It is humorous that these tales solely come up on the dinner desk — in individual — which, I feel, is why she says afterwards: “I want you lived in Atlanta.”

After I consider the very best presents I’ve ever obtained, I can not consider any materials issues. I take into consideration final 12 months, after I spent the vacation caught on the street, driving from New York to Atlanta in a rental automobile with my canine, Quentin, within the again seat, and the way I by no means made it residence in time for Christmas. . How a lot I remorse it. I take into consideration how I got here residence empty-handed, and the way my mom advised me it did not matter. Nobody expects something! We aren’t that form of household! Nonetheless, she stated, there are different varieties of presents.