Are you familiar with Joe’s Special ? It’s a medley of ground beef, spinach and eggs, made famous in San Francisco at New Joe’s, an Italian restaurant in 20’s, and was later placed on the menu at a place called Original Joe’s. Eventually, it landed on many menus in California and even ventured out of state. Isn’t it interesting how recipes develop and migrate, and this was all before the internet?
I first learned about this heavy protein, paleo friendly breakfast, brunch or dinner when I lived in Southern California. Lots of restaurants served it and everyone quite familiar with it, except me.
I decided to bring you this recipe, as a week ago, a gigantic bag of spinach was placed on my doorstep. Things like that happen to me because I am Spinach Tiger, and I have friends in the right places. They know I make spinach smoothies quite often, but even I couldn’t finish off this bag of spinach before Thanksgiving. I remembered Joe’s special, which, while many recipes use frozen spinach, I think is much better with fresh.
After I made a few green spinach and kale smoothies, and my Joe’s special in my cast iron pan, I still had this huge bag of spinach, and I didn’t want it going to waste. I’ve never had to think about freezing spinach or kale because we eat it up fast enough, but was to go on and discover something amazing.
How to Freeze Spinach and Kale
You would think that I know just about everything concerning spinach, but I needed google (don’t I always) to help me discover that spinach can be frozen, but there is a specific way to do it, with varying opinions. Some insist that spinach must be blanched and shocked before freezing, while others take the green super food directly to the freezer. I chose the latter, and was shocked at the results. I’m not sure what I expected, but this is what my spinach looked like when I took it out of the freezer. It looked exactly the same as the day I put it in, only it was frozen. By the way, you can also freeze kale the exact same way. Another great culinary discovery!
How to Freeze Spinach and Kale
- If you are getting it fresh from the dirt, triple wash it. Once frozen, it’s too late. Spin it dry with a salad spinner longer than you think you should. It has to be dry.
- Leave it out on towels for a few hours to really ensure it is dry.
- Wrap it in up gently in gallon size freezer bags. Don’t be concerned with quantities for future use. The spinach didn’t freeze into one cube and I was able to take only the amount out of the bag I wanted to for my recipe.
Joe’s special, a long time classic of ground beef, spinach and eggs is something I’m making a little more frequently, now that I have all that spinach.
So tell me, have you ever had Joe’s Special and do you freeze your greens?
Joe's Special and How to Freeze Spinach
- olive oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
- few sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or oregano
- 1 bunch fresh spinach can use frozen, but must thaw and drain first
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Saute onion until softened. Add in garlic and cook for one minute.
- Add in ground beef and stir fry with onion and garlic until cooked through.
- Add in salt, pepper, chili flakes and herbs.
- Add in big handfuls of spinach. If frozen using my method, just add in frozen at this point. Spinach will soften right way.
- Add in 4 beaten eggs.
- Continue to cook until eggs are done.
- Season again with salt and pepper.
- Top with parmesan cheese.
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