Mother hen toast: gallina de madre

  • Preparation Time10 mins
  • Cooking Time15 mins
  • Serves4
  • DifficultyMedium

For the mother hen toast

8 thick-cut slices wholemeal bread
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bechamel, recipe follows
16 slices shaved serrano ham
8 eggs

For the bechamel sauce

60g unsalted butter
3 heaped tbsps plain flour
475ml full-fat milk
1/8 tsp grated whole nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees C/Gas 4.

2) Lay bread out on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toast lightly.

3) Spoon a dollop of bechamel onto each toast. Arrange 2 slices of ham on each slice of toast and nestle it into a nest shape so the egg will rest in the centre. Crack egg and drop into nest on each toast.

4) Bake in oven until eggs are just cooked but the yolk is still slightly runny, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.

5) Serve immediately.

For the bechamel sauce:
1) Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir constantly to incorporate - you do not want any colour. Gradually pour in the milk as you stir, and whisk out any lumps. As the mixture thickens up continue to stir until it reaches a boil - this ensures that the flour is cooked completely.

2) Using a microplane or a fine grater, grate nutmeg into bechamel and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.

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