Jen wrote nice things, but then she asked for the recipe for the fig-parmesan-basil torta. I would give it if I could, but I don't really know my recipes. The concept of the torta is a good one, though. I make them a lot when I want a heftier dish -something with protein that I can serve guests fast.
Set out olives and bread, refill sangria pitcher. You're going to need 20-25 minutes in the kitchen without your guests pestering you.
Something solid to anchor the dish. Potatoes and onions. Zucchini and corn. Spinach and mushrooms. Figs if you're pretentious.
Dairy for yummy fat richness. Cubes of cheese, spoonfuls of ricotta, streaks of cream cheese.
Green herbs for freshness and to make it taste healthy. I chop up a handful of whatever suits the central ingredient.
Spicing. More and more these days I just use salt and pepper. I'm a trifle dissatisfied with that, but apparently not enough to change. If I do use spice, I follow whatever ethnic theme the ingredients suggest. Zucchini and corn sound Mexican-ish, and call for cayenne and cumin, and cilantro for the herbs.
Brown the central ingredients in a frying pan; use a firm hand with the oil. If you skimp, it'll be hard to slide the whole thing out in one pretty piece. Whisk some eggs. Put the dairy and herbs on your browned ingredients, pour eggs over the whole thing. Cook it on kinda low heat for some minutes with a lid on. When it isn't gooey on top anymore, hold your nice serving plate flush against the frying pan, and use your immense strength to turn the whole thing over. Lift frying pan off the top and nod with self-satisfaction at the pretty torta. Serve to your adoring guests. Demurely accept compliments.