Poached eggs with sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts

December 12, 2012 § 14 Comments

poached eggs sweets and brussels 1

I have a major breakfast thing people.  It’s pretty weird.

I mean, I knew I had a breakfast thing before – I’ve brought it up more than a few times, for example every time I mention breakfast – but I don’t think I knew knew.  If you know what I mean.  You know?

But now I know.  When I commandeered the whole breakfast-making procedure at my best friend in Boston’s house – where I was the guest, mind you – and started turning out frittatas with arugula and over easy eggs with a brown butter vinegar sizzle, that’s when I really knew.

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It may be Monday or Thursday, I may have a meeting at 8 am, but still I find myself compulsively fixing breakfast for myself and whomever else I can shake out of bed.  Plates of migas, fried eggs with kimchi and orange aioli, potato cakes with smoked salmon, honey-avocado lassis, fresh baked corn bread with homemade ricotta.  I may not be able to plan out my lunch, potentially not even dinner, but breakfast is likely to be a minor masterpiece.

I’d say it was a problem, if it weren’t so delicious!

sweets and sprouts

The thing is, making an interesting and complex-looking breakfast is often as easy as repurposing last night’s leftovers.  If I were being a bit accurate, I would admit that that’s where this winning combination of sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, and eggs came from.  Of course, if I were being more than a bit accurate, completely accurate even, I would admit that because our dinner plans had suddenly changed and we didn’t have leftover sweet potatoes or brussels sprouts, I got up early just so I could roast a couple handfuls.  But that’s just embarrassing.

(Totally worth it though.)

I have become incredibly fond (incredibly fond, ha!  Someone’s been rewatching season 1 of Downton Abbey) of the combination of egg and sweet potato, more and more so each time I put the two together.  The sweetness of the potatoes is beautifully cut through by the salty, sunny flavor of the egg.  Together they’re like the pink and coral and golden rays of sunshine that come streaming over the horizon at sunrise on a clear day.

eggs in cups

With the brussels sprouts things get even better, if that’s possible.  In the roasting process they crisp and lightly burn and add the sprinkling of contrast that a pinch of fleur de sel does to a smooth chocolate bar.  Then, when you break into the egg yolk, it runs and pools amidst the potatoes and greens, coating them with a silky sauce.  Pile the lot atop a generous piece of buttered toast (or don’t, they’re just as lovely on their own), and they make a breakfast fit for a holiday, or a Tuesday.

Not the least because, excuse me but did anyone else notice that I actually made decent poached eggs?!  What a triumph!

I love poached eggs, but for many years every time I’ve made them I’ve created frightening looking extraterrestrial life forms of fluttering egg white streamers instead of neatly packaged poached eggs.  I’d tried all the tricks of vinegar and making whirlpools.  I’d tried all the tricks except for one, one that’s not really a trick at all, more just good practice.

I watched our friend Ryan carefully poach eggs for us out in Seattle and noticed how because he cracked the eggs into cups first before carefully lowering them into the water, they stayed in perfect round, quivering orbs.  Oops.  I had alway skipped that extra cracking into cups steps because I am first and foremost slightly lazy, and secondly I always thought it just made extra dishes.  But it’s worth it!  Now you can have lovely poached eggs on all your leftovers for breakfast (or a swift dinner).

Start here.

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Poached eggs with sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts (serves 2, and is easily scaled up)

  • 1/2 cup sweet potato cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup Brussels sprouts, cleaned and quartered (make sure to keep and roast all the stray leaves, they crisp beautifully)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbs. apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 2 thick slices of bread and a bit of butter (optional)
  1. If you are lucky, you will have had a delicious dinner including roasted sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts last night and they will be all cooked and ready to go.  If not, preheat your oven to 425F.  Toss the sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts with a large splash of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  Spread the vegetables in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and put them in the oven.
  2. Roast the vegetables, stirring them once or twice in the process, until tender and browned on the outside, about 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. While the vegetables are roasting, bring a wide pot of water at least a couple inches deep to a boil, and stir in the vinegar.  Crack the eggs each into a separate cup.
  4. When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat off and gently slip the eggs into the water leaving as much space between the eggs as possible.  Cover the pan and allow it to sit until the egg whites are firm but the yolks are still runny, about 3 1/2 minutes.
  5. As the eggs poach, toast the bread and butter it.
  6. When they’re ready, gently scoop the eggs out of the water with a slotted spoon.  Divide the roasted vegetables between the two pieces of bread, then set a poached egg on top of each.  Sprinkle with some salt and pepper and serve.
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