Gee, what a fun day I had. Not. I spent quite a bit of it trying to coax Taboo, the squirrel, back into her cage, after she escaped two times. It was a real battle of wits, with me trying to act like The Horse Whisperer, thinking that a quiet, resolute manner would "speak" to her. Well, it didn't. Instead, it all degenerated into me chasing her, to no avail. You can't catch a squirrel that doesn't want to be caught. Finally, after almost two hours of chaos, she went into her cage for the second time. By that time, she hated me. I was the bad guy. But, after a couple of hours she must have realized that she needed to be on good terms with the food provider, so we're friends again.
All this activity caused me to crave protein. And I had a big bag of spinach that I needed to use before it became a big bag of slime. I also had ground chicken and decided that a skillet full of Joe's Special would be just the thing. True, real Joe's Special requires ground beef, but I didn't care. When you're the cook, you can make these critical decisions. I chased a squirrel. I needed a Joe's Special. You purists can deal with it.
Years ago, when I was a newbie to San Francisco, I ordered a Joe's Special. I don't know the origins of this famous dish of ground beef, spinach, onions, and eggs cooked in a skillet, but it's almost legendary, I was told. I loved it, and have made it many times since then. This is the first time I've ever used ground chicken and it was quite good.
By the way, if you want to see a very nice picture of an authentic Joe's Special go to CookieCrumb's site.
6 large eggs
Splash or two of Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1 teaspoon salt or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or oregano
1/2 teaspoon freshly milled black pepper or more to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced
About 1/2 pound lean freshly ground beef or ground dark chicken
3/4 to 1 pound fresh spinach or one 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
Crack the eggs into a small bowl and add the Tabasco, salt, herbs, and pepper. Whisk just enough to combine; you should still see large bubbles. Set aside.
Warm the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and sauté until soft but not beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the ground beef or chicken and continue cooking until uniformly brown, breaking the meat into small pieces as it cooks. Cover with the spinach, place a lid over the mixture, and cook for about 3 minutes, just until the spinach wilts. (If using frozen spinach, cook, covered, for 1 minute, just to take off its raw edge.)
Stir the spinach into the meat, cooking briefly to eliminate excess liquid if the mixture seems watery. Pour the egg mixture over all, stirring with a spatula from the bottom until the eggs begin to set. Remove from the heat and stir a few more times, as the eggs cook through from the residual heat. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.