I am so completely in the habit of making frittatas, or Spanish-style tortillas, that it is difficult to remember a time when I did not know how to make them. The wonderful features of the egg (so delicious, so complete, each comes in its own pretty package-they can be your supper, or your sauce, a meringue...oh, you know) are legion In this format they are really all that. A showcase for leftover veggies, dinner with a salad and bread, a sandwich filling, cut up for tapas, topping bruscetta, packed for lunch at work or a picnic.. No doubt you know all about all these excellent uses of this repetoire reliable.
In fact, to me it is a part of the charm of the frittata/tortilla, that you will find them nearly everywhere, in one form or another. While some are perfect, and others are not, it is unusual to be offered one which is entirely awful. This is an elemental sort of cooking, requiring but a pan and a fire. If I am stuck eating in an place I fear is bad in a pretentious sort-of-way, I generally order a frittata, tortilla, or omelet, and am a lot less likely to be disappointed than with an elaborate choice. And, conversely, a really good place generally serves a really good omelet (and roast chicken and creme brulee, or the local equivalent thereof).
My elderly mother has an apartment in an assisted living residence where the cooking is mostly sadly uninspired. They do make good real soups daily, and serve them properly hot, which is commendable. They also make an exceptionally nice mushroom omelet/frittata thing to order, which you can choose at any lunch or dinner, if you don't like the looks of the main course offerings. This has saved the day on any number of occasions of dreaded veal cutlet or pale, flaccid cacciatore.
Like any other simple dish, a frittata or tortilla is glorified by excellent ingredients- the freshest free range eggs, and bright fresh herbs, gorgeous seasonal local vegs., et al. Unlike some of the others, however, it is just fine made with ordinary ingredients too. While it is true that there is a slight knack to be acquired-whether one uses the broiler or pan flipping method, it does not take long to become an expert, and feel the satisfaction of a simple job well done, when you slide the finished product onto a plate.
I made this one , "inspired" by a dubious package of prewashed spinach-mixed with arugula (and called "spicy spinach salad.") It was the only spinach at the Iggle when I last shopped which did not look completely past it, and I craved some spinach. I am also an arugula fan. ( I can hardly wait until June 1, when my CSA farmbox starts up again.) I though that the combination could be nice with my little bundle of multicolored fingerlings, a pinch of smoked spanish paprika, and some fresh cilantro and parsley.
First I poured a bit of boiling water over a handful of spinach/arugula mixture, ran it under some cold water, wrung it out, and chopped it up. I beat four eggs with some salt and pepper and added the paprika. I peeled and sliced my boiled fingerlings, which were very petite and cute, chopped the herbs-adding half of them to the eggs, and cut two scallions into slivers.
I preheated the broiler, and warmed the potatoes slowly in my 8" cast iron skillet in a generous amount of olive oil. When they were warm I added the eggs and all the rest. I cooked the eggs, lifting the solidifying edges to let the still liquid egg run underneath, into the warm oil. When it was all done but the top-I set it under the broiler to finish. Thanks to the perhaps excessive amounts of olive oil, it slid easily onto a plate.
I had my frittata for supper, with salad and some really good semolina bread from my third batch. (Did I mention I'm head over heels for this bread? Uh...yeah.) That used up about half the fritatta. The rest came to work with me the next day with some more slices of that bread, and made a lunchtime sandwich, assembled just before eating.
I sure wish I had some pretty, fresh, green and blue, local, free-range eggs.