Friday, February 5, 2016


Photo of the Aurora in Iceland courtesy of Flickr user Moyan Brenn via Creative Commons
Iceland is an island in Northern Europe, northwest of the UK. It has been fully independent since 1944, and also had three hundred years of independence starting in the 900's. It is about the same size as Kentucky and has a population of over 300,000. It has very high literacy, longevity, and social cohesion. Read more at the CIA World Factbook.

I knew that Iceland was going to be difficult. An island nation does not mesh well with a fish allergy. When I saw that fermented shark, Hakarl, was the national dish it was off to a bad start. They traditionally made use of all parts of an animal, so I found a number of references to Svio, or boiled lambs head. I had to go in a different direction.

After some searching, I found an Icelandic Asparagus Ham Bake. It seemed kinda like making a frittata which was familiar enough but definitely had some new stuff going on too. It claims to be very popular in Iceland.

I used fresh asparagus instead of canned, so I didn't have any of those "juices" to add to the torn bread pieces. I'm not even sure I knew I could get canned asparagus.

I used my normal Costco wheat bread and the liquid from the mushrooms to create a mush. This was definitely something new. The eggs just made it more gooey.

Next was the cream cheese, mayo, ham, and veggies. I think around now I decided it most definitely wasn't a frittata. The eggs were not the main deal here. Also the asparagus didn't break up a ton, probably because they were fresh instead of canned. I did what I could.

After being topped with cheese and baked, this is how it came out. Hmm, back to the frittata estimation again? At least it doesn't look unappetizing!

No, starfruit is not a traditional Icelandic fruit. However, we have been letting Brendan pick out a new fruit or vegetable when we go to the store so we can all expand our palettes, hoping that if he picks it out he will be more likely to try it. That particular experiment has mixed results.

This "experiment" into Icelandic cooking, however, was not so great. The texture was bizarre. Soggy bread plus cream cheese really just didn't meld too well here. It wasn't inedible, but the leftovers got ignored. And ignored. In fact, none of it seemed to go well. Maybe canned asparagus is the secret? If so, that is not what I would have expected.

Everyone loved the starfruit though. That was a good choice, Brendan!

Next time: The saga of India begins.

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