04 March 2011

Jansson's Delight

I made this from a recipe suggestion in Niki Segnit's The Flavour Thesaurus, under 'potato and anchovy' which suggests mixing chopped onion with anchovies at the bottom of a baking tray, covering with "fat matchsticks" (i.e. chips) of potatoes, and set them swimming in cream in the oven for forty minutes. I cheated and used hefty amounts of anchovy powder rather than real anchovies, and then didn't tell my significant other that it had anything fishy in it - and he didn't notice. He even went back for seconds. So I would venture that the anchovy powder just adds saltiness and depth to the dish, rather than an icky fishiness. It was good.

I served mine with chicken oven-steamed with balsamic vinegar, mustard and garlic. I figured that the super-creamy potatoes would need something acidic to balance it out - and it worked pretty well. To see how to oven-steam chicken, check my recipes here and here.

Jansson's Delight
Serves 4 as a side

1.5 to 2 onions
1 tablespoon anchovy powder
3 potatoes
1 sweet potato
600ml mixture of milk and cream
(I used 200ml milk and 400ml cream)
1 slice bread
1 tablespoon butter, sliced into pats

Cut each onion in half and then slice into thin crescents. Layer on the bottom of a baking dish. You can use only half of the second onion - I did - or the whole thing, depending on the size of your baking dish and how many people you're feeding.

Sprinkle with anchovy powder and seasoning.

Peel the potatoes and chop into fat matchsticks. Balance them precariously over the onions.

Pour cream and milk into the pan until the potatoes are pretty much almost covered. Season again, but do not stir to dislodge.

Whizz the bread in a blender to form breadcrumbs, season the breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the top. Cut your tablespoon of butter into pats and dot them over the top.

Cover with foil and bake at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit) for twenty-five minutes. Uncover and turn the heat up to 200 degrees (390 Fahrenheit) for another fifteen to twenty minutes, to crisp up the topping.