I had this dish on a trip to Barcelona many years ago and it remains one of my favorites. It is a new twist on ham and eggs for breakfast, and when I have friends and family staying with us, I like to load up an entire baking sheet.


Manchego Béchamel

  • 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) unsalted butter
  • heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup grated Manchego cheese
  • teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • Pinch grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 thick slices Italian or French country bread
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 paper-thin slices Serrano ham
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 fresh sage leaves


Make the Manchego béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes; do not allow the mixture to take on any color. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to cook, whisking, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Add the cheese and stir for another minute until it is completely melted. Stir in the horseradish and nutmeg, season with salt and pepper, and keep warm while you prepare the eggs.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Toast in the oven until barely golden, about 10 minutes.

Arrange 1 slice of ham on each toast slice, forming it into a nest shape. Carefully break an egg into each nest and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the eggs are set but the yolks are still slightly runny, about 10 minutes.

While the eggs bake, heat ½ inch of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sage leaves and fry until crisp and dark, about 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

Transfer an egg toast to each plate and spoon some of the Manchego béchamel over each. Garnish with a fried sage leaf.