Warm Spinach Salad

a little olive oil

250 g snow peas

250 g spinach, washed and dried

a little soy sauce

juice of 1 lemon


black pepper

small bunch of chives, chopped finely

a few sage leaves, chopped roughly


Heat the olive oil in a non-stick pan or wok. Add the snow peas and stir until hot, but miles away from wilted. I like to have the snow peas a little more cooked than crunchy although this is against the faith. But you need to be careful – there are not many seconds between crunchy and slaughtered. You can tell when they are slaughtered: they have turned brown, and they look like stale fish.


When the snow peas are just hot, turn off the heat, add the spinach and mix through with the soy sauce, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cover and leave for a minute or two.


The spinach will have just lost its strength, but will not have wilted. Mix through and test for seasoning. Serve as a warm salad with chopped chives and sage sprinkled about.

The only thing I can’t do with spinach is grow it properly, but I’m also the only dude in town who can’t get any one of four citrus trees north, south and central of our place to produce anything but a home for rampaging insects. My trouble with spinach is that it tends to bolt to seed as soon as I stop looking at it. Simple solution here: pick it when it’s very young and use it only as a simple, delicious salad.

Make sure the leaves are dry and clean, and then drizzle the lot with a little balsamic vinegar and virgin olive oil, and work through with your hands. Panfry a half cup of pine nuts, and some basil leaves, all cooked just to warm, and toss into the spinach. Grate some Parmigiano Reggiano or equivalent over the lot.


Wilted spinach is terrific with smoked fish, and the best smoked fish is smoked salmon or smoked ocean trout. Sweat washed and dried spinach in a warm pan with a little olive oil until it has just wilted. Serve tossed with smoked salmon and chopped avocado, a little lemon juice, the oil from the pan, and a few chopped walnuts.