This Friday is Leif Erikson day, now if you’re like me and thought that he was a pop idol in the 70s you will be surprised. (I always thought that it was a little unfair for him to have his own day when David Cassidy was clearly a superior performer!)
Now imagine my surprise when I was doing my vast research for this column I found out that this guy discovered America.
Christopher Columbus was not the first European to discover the New World! This commonly held belief is wrong. Columbus didn’t reach the New World until 1492, 500 years after Leif Erikson’s arrival in 1001 AD.
Leif Erikson was the first European to set foot in the continent now known as America, opening a new land rich with resources for the Vikings to explore. But for some unknown reason, the Vikings only made a few voyages to the New World after Leif. Unfortunately, this caused his discovery to remain unknown to nearly all of Europe, which was in the midst of the Crusades, (and you just thought he was in rehab, right?)
There are two schools of thought as to the subsequent course of events. One of these is that Eiriksson, en route for Greenland, came off course, and quite by chance came to the shores of northwestern America in the year 1000, thus preceding Columbus by nearly 500 years. However, according to the Greenland Saga, generally believed to be trustworthy, Eiriksson's discovery was no mere chance. The saga tells that he fitted out an expedition and sailed west, in an attempt to gather proof of the claims made by the Icelandic trader Bjarni Herjulfsson. In 986 Herjulfsson, driven far off course by a fierce storm between Iceland and Greenland, had reported sighting hilly, heavily forested land far to the west. Herjulfsson, though believably the first European to see the continent of North America, never set foot on its shores. Leif Eiriksson, encouraged by the current talk of potential discoveries, and the constant need of land to farm, bought Bjarni's ship and set off on his quest of discovery.
Now, it is up in the air whether Eiriksson came from Iceland, Greenland or Norway but let’s for the sake of argument and for the ease of coming up with a recipe, say that he was from Norway and make a smoked salmon quiche!
SMOKED SALMON QUICHE
1 ¾ cups) flour
1 cup butter or margarine
1/3 cup water
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 ½ T. butter
14 ounces chopped smoked salmon
2 tsp. chopped fresh chives
½ clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp. chopped fresh basil
1 cup milk
1 cup whipping cream
a dash of pepper
Combine all pastry ingredients in a food processor. Gather into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Roll out the dough to fit a 24 cm (10") tart pan. Prick with a fork. Cover edges with foil and bake 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 160 degrees C (325 degrees F). Saute onion until shiny in the butter. Stir in salmon, chives, garlic, and basil. Cool. Arrange the salmon mixture in the pre-baked tart shell. Whisk eggs with milk and cream, season with pepper and pour in the tart shell. Bake about 30 minutes, until puffed and golden.