What a gorgeous weekend! I love the first few days of spring, when Londoners emerge from their winter hibernation and, rather than hurry from place to place with their shoulders hunched, turn their faces upwards, soaking in every single glorious ray (and while it is still not quite warm enough for pot-bellied, pimpled-skinned men to walk around with their shirts off – never a pleasant sight). I think it is one of the nice things about living somewhere that doesn’t have continuous sunshine, we definitely fully appreciate it when we do get it! Apparently the week before was also lovely, but I wouldn’t know as I spent the lion’s share stuck inside the windowless Earl’s Court at the London Book Fair. Three days of back-to-back meetings, tasteless paninis, and far too many watery coffees, drank in a bid to warn off the 3pm yawns. I don’t chat about my day job much on here (I work at a Literary Agency), but for all my complaining it did remind me how lovely people who work in publishing really are, and how keen everyone is to find great books.
So when it came to cooking on Friday night I wanted an antidote to the week. I wanted to eat outside. I wanted fresh, flavourful food, and I didn’t want to spend any more time in the kitchen than was strictly necessary. Like many people my fall back quick meal is often pasta, but while in the winter months I love it’s comforting stodginess, in warmer weather I want something a bit lighter. Step forward the humble frittata. The Italian sister of Spain’s tortilla and France’s omlette, they are quick to make and vacuum up a fridge full of tired vegetables and odds and ends of cheese and such. The key to a tasty frittata is to use high quality eggs, a good, pungent olive oil, and a generous sprinkling of salt.
To this spring version I added asparagus spears (I’m mildly obsessed with the vegetable, and spend most of its season finding ways to add it to meals), fried new potatoes and feta cheese. I served it alongside a simple salad with tomatoes, which are finally beginning to taste of something again, dressed with lemon and walnut oil.
I used 10 eggs and made enough to fill the three of us, plus two leftover meals for me, but I have scaled it back so this recipe will serve three to four.
Recipe for Asparagus, new potato and feta frittata.
250g new potatoes
1 bunch of asparagus (about 10 spears)
100g feta cheese
6 (organic if possible) very fresh eggs
A handful of parsley
250g cherry tomatoes
A bag of salad leaves
1tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp walnut oil
Pre-heat your grill to medium to hot.
Boil the new potatoes until just tender, drain then run them under water to cool.
Chop, and then slowly fry the onion in olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat until translucent.
Slice the potatoes thinly, then add to the onions.
Slice the asparagus spears into 2cm chunks.
When the potatoes have got a bit of colour on them, add the asparagus to the pan and give it all a good shake. Add another lug of olive oil to coat.
Beat the eggs together and season well. Chop the feta into bite sized pieces and add to the eggs.
Pour the egg and feta mixture over the onions, potatoes and asparagus. Sprinkle over some chopped parsley. Turn the heat down slightly, you don’t want the bottom to brown too quickly and cook for 5 minutes or so.
Chop up your tomatoes and add to a bowl along with the salad leaves.
Mix the lemon juice and walnut oil together and season well.
When the egg is set around the edges, but still runny in the centre, transfer the pan to the grill, and give it another 3 to 5 minutes. The centre should still be slightly runny.
Once cooked leave for a few minutes on the side. Dress your salad, and when ready take everything to the table.