A Dash of History: Salmon Egg Popovers with Nectarine Salsa Recipe from the Lighthouse Bed and Breakfast

Agate Bay in Two Harbors had become a major shipping point for iron ore coming from the Mesabi Range to the west by the late 1880s. Ships were finding it difficult to navigate into and back out of the harbor, so in 1891 construction began on a lighthouse overlooking the bay. More than six hundred tons of rock were blasted out of the bedrock to form the foundation for the new light station.

Construction on the station was completed the following year. The beacon at the Agate Bay Light Station was first lit on April 14, 1892. A fourth-order Fresnel lens rotated around a fixed flame supplied by oil. The light provided safe passage into the harbor 24 hours per day. Inside the tower, staircase landings act as work stations. There is space for refueling and wicking lanterns, a watch room with four portholes, and the lantern gallery up top.





The keepers quarters and the light tower were designed to be connected, yet separate structures. The walls of the tower were three bricks thick and the keepers quarters were two blocks thick to protect the keeper and his family in the event of a fire or explosion in the tower. Additional buildings on the property included the fog horn building fitted initially with steam whistles, an oil house, skiff house, garage, and a house for the assistant keeper built in 1894.

The beacon was lit by electricity for the first time in 1921, changing the duties of the keeper drastically. The U.S. Lighthouse Service operated the light station until 1939 when the U.S. Lighthouse Service was incorporated into the U.S. Coast Guard.  In 1969, the Coast Guard removed the Fresnel lens and replaced it with a 24” aerobeacon with two, 1000-watt bulbs--which are still used today and can be seen from 17 miles away. The original lens is now on display in the Great Lakes Historical Society Museum in Vermillion, Ohio. The fog signal fell silent in 1973 and in 1987, the light became fully automated from the Duluth Coast Guard Station.

The Lake County Historical Society began to provide tours of the lighthouse in 1988. Through an act of Congress in 1999, the light station was given to the Lake County Historical Society. Later that year, the Society opened the Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast and installed exhibits to help generate funds to maintain the facility. Three of the station’s buildings are open for visitors to tour and the light is still active to aid navigation. This recipe comes from the lighthouse’s first years as a bed and breakfast.

Salmon Egg Popovers with Nectarine Salsa

3 extra-large eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter
4 eggs
2 tablespoons half-and-half
¼ cup smoked salmon, chopped

Nectarine Salsa:
2 cups fresh nectarines, chopped
¼ cup sweet onion, chopped
3 tablespoons lime juice
2-3 tablespoons fresh jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup minced cilantro

To make popovers, beat eggs in a large bowl until light in color. Add milk and butter. Gradually add flour and salt, beating until smooth. Pour mixture into a covered pitcher and refrigerate overnight.

To make salsa, stir together nectarines, onion, lime juice, jalapeño peppers, garlic, sugar, and cilantro. Let sit one to two hours.

Preheat oven to 375°. Generously spray four (six ounce) custard cups with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove popover batter from refrigerator and sir gently. Fill cups three-fourths full and place on a baking sheet. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until dark brown. Set aside.

In a medium, non-stick skillet, melt butter. Add eggs and scramble them gently with a spatula to form large, soft curds. Add smoked salmon and continue cooking for about one minute.

Make a four-inch slit in the top of each popover and fill with scrambled egg mixture. Serve immediately with the nectarine salsa on the side.

Serves four.

Minnesota mornings : comfort & cuisine from the Minnesota Bed & Breakfast Guild. 2000.