Tuesday, June 21, 2011

"Spinach Salad Gourmet" [Tom & June]

This recipe dates back to the early 70's. I was a bartender at the Hazard Powder Company located on 2nd Ave. between 82nd & 83rd. This was a "shout & holler" bar. No food - only alcohol! There were no tables or chairs. Everyone sat on the rug floor. The juke box blasted - The Who - Stones and all the sounds of the times. One night, in walks this guy wearing a starched shirt, pressed pants and a Hollywood haircut. After he orders a drink, we talk and I learn he just ended a tour. I introduced him to the owner.

Steve had just finished a tour with Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme. He was their personal chef. Steve had also done the same with one of the with Rowan & Martin guys as well as other celebs.

So, 5 days later, Steve Kenney is behind the bar with me and so it begins. We did 2 separate stints together at the Hazard. We had the place rocking. We installed 2 turntables, huge speakers, bought 50 records and hired hot ladies to spin the sounds while customer stared at their bouncing butts. The only time the owner came in was during the day to do the books. He loved that we increased his sales by 200% but did not want to know how! Each night we worked, it was a SHOW! We danced, tossed the shakers in the air and flipped bottles back & forth. (this was long before Tom's Cruise's Cocktail)

We took jobs in Sugarbush, Vermont at the Phoenix Restaurant. Steve was the head chef & I was was his sous chef. Steve taught me much about food and we had as much fun cooking as we did bartending. Steve stayed in Vermont and became a local celebrity. He was known as "Sky Chef" and spent years on a local cooking show. He was way ahead of his time.

Steve created this salad for Eydie while he was on tour with them. Steve told me Eydie wanted light, healthy and non-fattening meals.

So it was named -"Spinach Salad Gourmet"
The salad has a warm vinegar dressing - serves 2.

One bag fresh spinach
6 slices of thick bacon - cut into small pieces prior to cooking (DO NOT discard renderings)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2-3 cloves minced garlic
2 Grated hard boiled eggs
5 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp honey
Salt & pepper
Croutons (optional)
For additional substance I added a sliced grilled chicken breast that was marinated in Italian dressing.

You'll also need -
Big stainless steel bowl
Pair of tongs
Big frying pan

Fry the bacon pieces until crispy, remove to paper towel with a slotted spoon. Save renderings to be used for the dressing.

Place washed, dried spinach in stainless bowl.
Add minced garlic to the - let's call it what it is - bacon fat. Saute for 2 minutes on low.

Add mustard, Worcestershire sauce, honey, S & P, vinegar and simmer. This just needs to be warm - not hot!

Slowly pour the dressing around the bowl then put the frying pan (cooking side down) to clamp the bowl pan together for one minute. This will semi-steam the spinach.

Uncover bowl and with tongs, gently toss spinach to coat with dressing. Place on plates. Top with bacon bits, chicken, grated egg and croutons.


  1. Does anyone know the exact street address of the Hazard Powder company? I met my wife there and wold like to rent whatever is there now for an anniversary party.


  2. Hi, Tommy K...I found you..I'm in Northwest CT with my wife Katy and Colter III, 13 years old...call me..917-455-1800..C. Rule