Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Joe's Special

How can I put this? Joe's Special isn't all that....well...er...special. Don't get me wrong, I love me some JS, but the specialness definitely lies in how unsophisticated it is.

I first enjoyed this dish at Original Joe's, a restaurant that has been in my hometown since the 1950s.

Being part of a large Italian family, many occasions called for a trip downtown and a big booth at Original Joe's. Many traditional, Italian old world specialties are on their menu.

My first OJ memories are of large, white oval plates of steaming ravioli in hearty Bolognese sauce. I think The Adults ordered that for me on every visit until I was street legal. Left to my own vices as an adult, I definitely got more adventuresome on my travels through the menu. One day I happened upon Joe's Special. That moment began the love affair that lives on to this day.

So just where did Joe get his special?

According to legend: Folklore has it that a customer ordered a spinach omelet very late one night. The customer asked the chef if he had anything else available to cook. The chef replied he had some hamburger left. The customer asked him to throw some of the hamburger into his omelet. The dish became so popular that they eventually put it on the menu. ~Original Joe's website

A simple pairing of flavors and ingredients that comes together to be absolutely delicious -- and satisfying.

To begin, heat olive in a skillet and brown ground chuck (I used ground buffalo because I prefer the taste and leanness of the meat,and it was still de-lish).

Once meat is mostly cooked through add finely chopped onions, garlic, and after a couple of minutes, the chopped spinach (I used fresh spinach but frozen would be fine as well).

Once the onions, garlic and spinach have had time to soften, add eggs and cook through until not runny.

The rule of Joe's Special is one egg for each person you are serving.

Beat 'em!

Salt and pepper to taste, then your ready to plate! A little grated Pecorino Romano cheese on top is the perfect finish. In the OJ's tradition, serving this tastiness with fresh, crusty sourdough bread is highly recommended.


The other thing of beauty about this recipe is how well it lends itself to your own creativity too. Have some mushrooms in the fridge? Throw those bad boys in with the onion and garlic. Summer time tomato calling your name from that bowl on the counter? In it goes! Have a bell pepper that is just asking for it? You know what to do..... And there you have it -- Joe's Special just keeps on getting more specialer.

Looking for a more regimented recipe? I think the OJ's San Francisco adaption will do.

Original Joe's Special
Source: Original Joe's, a restaurant in San Francisco
Serves: 4

1 pound ground chuck
1 box of frozen spinach
2 medium onions (sliced thin)
1 clove of garlic
1 egg per person
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Drain spinach and squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Set aside.

Brown onions and garlic. Add crumbled meat. Sauté until it loses red color. Mix constantly. Add spinach bit by bit, and stirring in.

Break eggs into skillet and stir constantly. May be served immediately or allowed to brown further.


Anonymous said...

wow, i felt like i was reading a food blog ....maybe Daniellaland needs a food entry each week, put a little smitten into your kitchen.

shannon said...

Mmmmm, simple but yummy and I like the sourdough side with it!