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Eggs a'la Aristotle

A recipe for Nicomachean Eggs (with deepest apologies to Aristotle)

Every egg has a purpose or end. Since a good egg is a tasty egg, and a tasty egg is a fresh egg, one's eggs must be fresh — indeed, they must be consistently so. Our ultimate end is eudaimonia (happiness), which can only be achieved over a long, lucky and healthy lifetime using such things as fresh eggs — keep in mind... only after one is long dead can one can be judged to have achieved eudaimonia (in egg cookery or otherwise).

That said, good eggs must be prepared by a virtuous cook. Said cook should possess high-minded virtues (arete): courage, moderation, generosity, pride, tenderness, affability, honesty, wit and justice.

Just as a cook embarks upon a quest for the golden mean between behavioral extremes, practicing cooks should avoid excess in their eggs. Good eggs should be prepared through a thoughtful exploration of the spectrum ends: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and meaty.

Step one: Assemble the most virtuous ingredients.

vinaigrette ingredients:
zest and juice of one lemon
1 tsp honey
2 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 pinch freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 pinch salt (to taste)
1 T olive oil

filling ingredients:
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
3 cups washed baby spinach

omelette ingredients:
5 eggs
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp olive oil

Step two: Cook cleanly and efficiently, with love and respect.

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients, adding olive oil drop by drop to emulsify. Taste for balance. Add a touch more honey, herb, salt or oil to adjust flavor. Set aside.

Whisk together eggs, pepper and salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Heat a sauté pan or skillet on medium-high with 2 tsp olive oil. Add garlic and saut&eaucte; 30 seconds. Add spinach and sauté. Remove from heat.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat, tilting pan to coat evenly. Add eggs to hot pan, tilting to create an even layer. Lift set edges with a thin spatula to allow uncooked eggs to flow underneath. Fill with spinach-garlic mix and roll over about a third of the omelette. Tilt omelette in pan onto a plate and fold over the remaining portion.

Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Step three: Serve with due haste to those high-minded friends with whom you share a mutual respect.


Special Note: Since cooks learn virtue over a lifetime of exploration, it is advisable to first mimic virtuous action with the knowledge that with time and effort, real understanding will eventually shine through and replace the pantomime with truly virtuous cooking.

12.07.2005

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