A dish so utterly, devastatingly, addictively tempting, poor old Jansson just couldn't resist. Who Jansson was, we'll never know. An opera singer, a film character, a member of royalty, no one can decide. One thing is certain, and that is that the poor blighter couldn't stop eating this classic Scandinavian casserole. "It's just a Scandinavian dauphinoise", I hear a disillusioned few snigger from the back. Well if you want to be as reductive as that, read no further. For those of you who are open minded and willing to have your minds expanded, please read on. Below is the secret to happiness, and it's very creamy.
250g unsalted butter
4 large white onions, sliced
125g anchovy fillets
1 bunch thyme, leaves picked
1kg waxy potatoes, such as Roosevelt or Desiree, peeled and cut into 1/2 cm slices
1 large celeriac, peeled and cut into 1/2 cm slices
500ml double cream
Melt the butter, all the butter, and add the sliced white onions, a large pinch of salt, the anchovies and the thyme. It is imperative that you cook this slow and low for at least 25 minutes. Do not let it colour and don't stop until sure the onions are meltingly soft.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Add the sliced potatoes and celeriac and stir through. Add the cream and allow to warm through. Do not boil.
Check the seasoning. You want this to be almost too salty. The potatoes and the celeriac act like sponges and you do not want it to be under-seasoned.
When you are happy, empty the mixture into a baking tray and make sure the cream comes satisfyingly just to the top of the potatoes. Try and keep them in nice layers.
Bake for 45 minutes - 1hr until lovely, brown and bubbly. Serve with steak or a chop