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Sunny Side Up a la Tyler Florence and Food Gal Giveaway

This is one of those great breakfast dishes that is really perfect most anytime of day or night.

Need to feed a crowd at brunch? You bet.

Want a simple, yet satisfying lunch? This is it.

Need a late-night nosh after an evening of carousing? This will hit the spot.

“Gallina de Madre” (‘Mother Hen’ Toast) is from the new Tyler Florence cookbook, “Tyler Florence Family Meal” (Rodale).

Marin County resident and chef-owner of Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco, Florence learned how to make this dish on a visit to Barcelona.

It takes ham and eggs to a whole ‘nother level. Imagine biting into a toasted, thick slice of country bread topped with slices of sweet-salty Serrano ham,  a sunny side up egg and a drizzle of thick, creamy Manchego cheese bechamel sauce spiked with horseradish and nutmeg.

If that doesn’t perk you up, I don’t know what will.

You can easily make a big pan full of these at once to feed a lot of people. This straightforward recipe has only one tricky part: Cracking an egg on top of each toast. Florence instructs to form one slice of ham into a nest shape on each toast. Maybe because my ham slices were on the small side, but I found that it took at least two slices to do the job. You need to take care to really cup the ham well or else when you attempt to break the egg into it, the egg will run out all over the bread and into the baking pan. And believe me, you don’t want that.

Once you have the egg centered inside the ham nest, place in the oven and bake until the white is set but the yolk is still runny.

Before serving, top each with a fried sage leaf.

Ham and eggs have never looked so good.

Contest: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a copy of Florence’s new cookbook, “Tyler Florence Family Meal,” which includes recipes he makes for his own family, as well as chef colleagues. Contest is open only to those in the continental United States. Deadline to enter is midnight PST Nov. 20. Winner will be announced on Nov. 22.

How to enter?

Just tell me what you would most want Tyler Florence to teach you if he came to your house for a day. (And ahem, I know he’s a hottie, but let’s keep this G-rated, if you get my drift. LOL) The best answer wins the book.

Here’s my own answer: “Tyler makes being in front of a camera look totally effortless. Having appeared on TV only a couple of times, myself, I still get get jittery. I’d like to know how he got to be so comfortable with it and the tips he would offer newbies.”

Gallina de Madre (‘Mother Hen’ Toast)

(Serves 6)

For manchego bechamel:

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup whole milk

1 cup grated Manchego cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

Pinch of grated nutmeg

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper\

For rest of dish:

6 thick slices Italian or French country bread

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 to 16 paper-thin slices Serrano ham (if your slices are on the small side, plan to get 16 slices)

6 eggs

6 fresh sage leaves

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

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange 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 or 2 slices of ham on each toast slice, forming it into a nest shape with edges high enough to keep the egg from spilling out. Carefully break egg into each nest and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Return baking sheet to oven and bake until eggs are set but yolks are still slightly runny, about 10 minutes.

While eggs bake, heat 1/2 inch of olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add 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 bechamel over each. Garnish with fried sage leaf.

Adapted from “Tyler Florence Family Meal” by Tyler Florence

Another Egg Dish: Shirred Eggs in Prosciutto Crudo Cups