By Request


Wednesday, October 10, 2001

Classic spinach salad
is worth a second look

Had to go to Nick's Fishmarket the other day to watch general manager Ben Dowling set fire to a pan of cherries (see D1), so I brought along a request that came all the way from Anchorage, Alaska.

Back in 1980, Toni Francisco had dinner at Nick's and enjoyed "a wonderful spinach salad. ... I can still just almost taste it after all these years."

Dowling remembers the salad, but says it is no longer on the menu. He gamely went off into the kitchen, though, and after some consultation, came back with the bare bones of a recipe.

It's a basic wilted spinach salad, popular in the '80s. Basically, you toss the greens with hot oil and vinegar. Lots of similar recipes are out there, many using bacon grease as the oil because you fry up some bacon first to use as a garnish.

This is a "more or less" recipe. Meaning, after every item on the ingredient list, insert the words "more or less." It's worth writing down, though, because it's basic and simple, spinach is good for you and the taste is quite nice.

I tested this on my family and came up with some proportions that seem about right. More or less. If you like your recipes a little more specific, another version follows.

Nick's Fishmarket Wilted Spinach Salad

8 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1 hard-boiled egg, chopped
2 slices bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

Wash spinach well and spin dry, or drain well and dry with paper towels. Place in bowl.

Heat oil and vinegar in a small saucepan until bubbly. Pour over spinach and toss quickly, wilting as many leaves as possible. Add salt and toss. Garnish with egg and bacon. Serves 2.

Hot Spinach Salad

2 10-ounce packages baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1-1/2 cups toasted, chopped pecans
8 ounces crumbled blue cheese
2/3 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons molasses
1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Arrange spinach and red onion in a bowl and top with pecans and cheese.

In a small saucepan, warm the garlic in the olive oil to flavor the oil. Then add molasses, vinegar and pepper. Whisking constantly, bring almost to a boil, remove from heat and cool until just warm. Pour into a shakable container, shake and pour over salad. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Nutritional information unavailable.

Food Stuffs: Morsels

Send queries along with name and phone number to:
"By Request," Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
500 Ala Moana, No. 7-210, Honolulu 96813.
Or send e-mail to

Asterisk (*) after nutritional analyses in the
Body & Soul section indicates calculations by
Joannie Dobbs of Exploring New Concepts,
a nutritional consulting firm.

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