Joe’s Special is a San Francisco tradition allegedly dating back to the gold rush era with many restaurants claiming to be the restaurant that first offered the dish. I had never heard of Joe’s Special until I moved from southern California to the San Francisco Bay area, but I loved it once I tried it.
I will make Joe’s Special occasionally (usually when we are camping), but my family usually chooses pancakes for breakfast. With this in mind, I decided to serve my version of Joe’s Special for dinner. And, to change it up even more, I decided to serve it as a quiche.
I did change the original recipe slightly by adding Italian sausage instead of hamburger, but I think the quiche needed the extra flavor. Joe’s Special Quiche was a big hit with my family (well, a big hit with my daughter, husband and me. My son wouldn’t even touch it. Too green, I guess). My daughter even earmarked the leftovers for lunch.
½ pound Italian Sausage (I used ½ sweet and ½ hot), casings removed
10-12 ounce frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
1 cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the Italian sausage. Brown the sausage, breaking it into small bite-sized pieces. When the sausage starts to brown, add the onions. Cook until the onions are soft and the sausage is cooked through. Stir the spinach and nutmeg into the onion and sausage mixture, and cook for another 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large circle. Place the dough into a deep-dish pie plate. Fold under any excess pie dough and crimp the edges, set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Stir in the milk, cream, salt and shredded cheese. Add in the slightly cooled sausage mixture, and mix well. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil. Bake the quiche for 15 minutes at 400°F then turn the oven to 350°F and bake for an additional 45 minutes to 60 minutes, or until the middle of the quiche no longer jiggles.