I noticed that the anchovies in her recipe looked different from what I was used to. The ones I get are very small and don't usually have any skin left at all.
They look like this:
Whereas the ones in the Janssons recipe looked wider and had skin. So naturally, I did some research. And I'm glad I did! It turns out that Swedish anchovies are pickled in a brine that is also somewhat sweet and has different spices. Our typical ones are just in a salt brine.
In fact, it seems that they aren't really anchovies at all, but rather sprats, which are a small sardine-like fish. However, sprats in brine like this are called 'ansjovis' in Sweden and this might explain the confusion in translation. I am sure that this dish would taste pretty good with regular anchovies, but I think it would be missing something that the distinctive flavour of the Swedish brine brings.
Lucky for me, I have a source of Swedish foods in the local
Ikea store so I was able to try a more authentic version.
My collection of ingredients for the recipe. I used Yukon Gold potatoes simply because I already had them. I also used red onion instead of yellow because I had a large one already partly used. I am hoping these little changes won't interrupt the authenticity of the dish.
I used a mandoline to cut the potatoes. Well ok, I asked
my husband to cut them, I hate using the mandoline!
Here is the assembled dish.
After this, I added a final layer of potato and the brine from the tin as well as a generous amount of cream, I baked it at 375F/190C for about 40 min. I covered it with foil for the first 15 minutes or so.
I served it with slow-cooked pork and root vegetables and a big dollop of sour cream. I didn't get a final picture - too hungry! I really liked this dish. There are three things I think didn't work perfectly for me.
1) The cream curdled during baking and although it didn't hurt the taste it certainly didn't look as nice as it should. I'm not sure if this is because I used 18% milk fat cream instead of 35% or if I shouldn't have added all the brine. Not sure, but it would have been nicer if that didn't happen.
2) I think the dish was improved by serving it with something else. The dish on it's own was very salty for my taste. Next time, I think I would not use all of the brine, maybe half. Serving it with sour cream and other dishes really helps with this, you can appreciate the delicious saltiness. And it IS delicious!
3) Really would have been great with beer! Sadly, I had none :(
All in all, a great dish and I'm glad I tried it. I picked up 2 tins of the sprats/anchovies so I will be making use of them in some other recipe, no doubt.