How to make Swedish potato and fish gratin

The Local
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How to make Swedish potato and fish gratin

It's been a chilly week across Sweden. This dish (called Janssons frestelse in Swedish) is guaranteed to warm you up. Food writer John Duxbury shares his recipe with The Local.


Quick overview

Makes: 4 portions

Time needed: 70 minutes


450 g (1lb) potatoes (preferably a floury type such as King Edward)

1 onion

125 g (4½ oz) tin of spice-cured sprats (look for ‘skarpsill’ or ‘ansjovis’)

150 ml (3/4 cup) whipping cream (light cream)

4 tbsp milk

1 tbsp white breadcrumbs

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp salt and pepper

The dish was introduced into the Swedish cuisine in the 1940s. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT


1. Preheat the oven to 230C.

2. Peel the potatoes and then cut them into juliennes or thin strips (you could use a julienne disc on a food processor to do this but the size isn't critical).  

3. Peel the onion and cut into julienne strips.

4. Fry the onion in butter until it’s softened without browning.

5. Drain the spiced brine from the ‘ansjovis’ tin into a jug. Add the cream and milk.

6. Cut the ‘ansjovis’ into 1cm lengths.

7. Lightly grease an ovenproof baking dish.

8. Cover the bottom of the dish with a third of the potatoes, then add half the ‘ansjovis’ pieces.

9. Add another third of the potatoes and top with the remaining ‘ansjovis’ pieces.

10. Add the remaining third of the potatoes, then season with pepper (you probably don’t need any salt as the ‘ansjovis’ are very salty).

11. Flatten the surface, then pour the cream, milk, and spiced brine over it.  

12. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the dish and dot the surface with butter.

13. Bake for about an hour until golden brown.

Serving suggestions

Wait until after your dinner guests have tasted the dish to tell them that it’s made with sprats! Serve hot, with bread (knäckebröd), cheese, and salad or warm as part of a smorgasbord.

Recipe courtesy of John Duxbury, Editor and Founder of Swedish Food


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