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Paleo Eggs Benedict: Brussels Sprout Cakes With Poached Egg

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    Brussels Sprout Cakes With Poached Egg
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    Simple ingredients: Brussels Sprouts, sweet potatoes, eggs, shallot
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    Bacon is optional, but everything tastes better with bacon
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    Mash everything together...
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    ...and create patties
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    Fried patties
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    Brussels Sprout Cakes With Poached Egg

Text, photos and food cooked by Michal Martinek

Jan 31, 2017

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Brussels Sprout Cakes With Poached Egg

Time was running out on the plum and emerald Brussels sprouts I’d bought at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market. Several times a day as I reached into the fridge, I would see the bag, move it from corner to corner, and then forget about it for another day. But even though these miniature cabbages can be stored much longer than, say, arugula, I was eager to turn them into something tasty.

Incidentally, my mom mentioned making a batch of green cabbage patties with mashed potatoes, a popular Czech country fall-winter dish called kapustové karbanátky. In that recipe, boiled cabbage is mixed with ground pork, eggs and breadcrumbs, formed into patties, dipped into more breadcrumbs, and fried or baked in the oven. It’s delicious and comforting, but also on the heavy, high-calorie side. Still, I got inspired and decided to put my spin on it.

In the end, I boiled the sprouts till soft—and did the same with a sweet potato that was also in my fridge, patiently waiting to be used—and mashed them together with flakes of bacon (skip this part if you’re vegetarian). I formed the mixture into patties, fried them, and put the egg on top—poached, which is my favorite—instead of inside. They’re super flavorful, subtly sweet, with a smooth, silky texture and a hint of surface crispness. You can serve them for breakfast and tell everyone they’re a paleo & gluten-free version of eggs Benedict.

One thing to keep in mind: Because there isn’t anything binding the mixture together (no egg, no ground pork), the patties will be soft and more pliable than usual, so work with a spatula and note you won’t be able to hold them in your hand.


  1. Makes 5 cakes
  2. 2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  3. 3 cups sweet potato, peeled, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 1 large sweet potato)
  4. 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  5. 2 tablespoons shallot or yellow onion, peeled, finely diced
  6. 2 strips bacon, sliced into ¼-inch pieces (optional)
  7. ½ teaspoon salt
  8. ¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  9. Poached Eggs
  10. 4 cups water
  11. ½ cup white vinegar
  12. ½ teaspoon salt
  13. 5 eggs


Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the Brussels sprouts, lower the heat to medium, and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Test one sprout with a knife, and if it slides in easily, they’re ready. Drain in a colander and cool under cold running water. Slice finely and transfer to a large bowl.


Place the sweet potato in a medium pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to medium and cook until soft, about 8–10 minutes. Drain in a colander and add to the Brussels sprouts.


Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring often, until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the bacon, if using, and fry, stirring often, until crisp, about 3–4 minutes. Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the sprouts and potato. Add salt and black pepper, and mash with a potato masher until smooth.


Using a ½ cup as a measure, shape the mixture into 5 round patties, each 1 inch thick. Refrigerate the patties for minimum 1 hour. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (drop a bead of water into the skillet; it will sizzle if the oil is hot enough). Place 2–3 patties into the oil and cook until a golden brown crust forms, about 3 minutes per side. Turn over and cook for another 3 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a plate and cover with aluminum foil to keep them warm. Repeat with the rest of the patties.


To make the poached eggs, bring the water, white vinegar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan (do not use a shallow pan, such as a skillet). Crack one egg into a small bowl. When the water comes to a high boil, lower the heat to medium and, using a spoon, create a whirlpool effect. Wait until the whirlpool slows down a little, and then slide one egg into the water against the side of the pan. Add a second egg. Poach the eggs for 2½ minutes, until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove the eggs to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the rest of the eggs.


Serve the cakes with a poached egg on top.


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