Bag omelets, as we call them, are a favorite project for my family. The family legend behind this is that my Dad was watching some sort of hunting and fishing outdoor program on a Sunday afternoon and they demonstrated these as a campfire cooking idea. Dad called my Mom into watch, and they were so intrigued, they made them that night. Well, they couldn’t stop talking about them, and the next weekend had us all over for a bag omelet party. And so a family tradition was born.
I tell people about these all the time, but when I do, I can see them nod skeptically, and I just know they aren’t going to follow my advice and make them. Recently, I had a dozen gorgeous eggs from the chickens my friend Kristin lovingly raises, so I invited a couple of those skeptical friends for dinner, and they were finally won over. We all loved our omelets and the chance to get creative. They immediately started thinking of reasons to make them.
Bag omelets are a great project for any group meal. Everyone gets their own customized omelet, all ready at the same time. Interactive food and lots of choice are always popular with the kids in my family. And bag omelet party is a great way to jazz up a boring weeknight meal with a special breakfast-for-dinner treat. I can see this as the perfect project if you are stuck in the house on a snow day. They are a perfect clean-out-the-fridge meal – great during the busy holidays when you have lots of bits and pieces hanging around, or the night after a big party. Cut up the leftover vegetables from the dip tray, dice the ham or turkey, grate the bits from the cheese platter.
But this is also a great idea for overnight guests, adults or after a kids’ sleepover. The same goes for an adult dinner party. Everyone has fun discussing their creations and all the omelets are hot and ready at the same time. These work equally as well with leftover salami and string cheese as they do with shaved truffles and duck confit.The omelets slide out of the bags as elegant perfectly shaped cylinders. They are perfect on their own, or with some crisp toasted bread or a light salad.
Use a big Dutch oven or pot, nonstick if you have it. Fill the pot about three-quarters full with water. When you add the bags, the water level will rise, but you want as much water as possible. It shouldn’t be a problem if a little splashes over the side.
Use freezer safe bags, which are thicker and stand up to the heat. Don’t use the plastic slider kind, just the press together seals. You’ll want to squeeze out air so the bags don’t float too much.
Use a permanent marker to write on the bags. You don’t want the names to wash off – you might get the wrong omelet!
Set the timer and have it ready to start when to omelets hit the water. Use tongs to lift the bags out of the water onto a plate or platter.
Wear oven mitts or use a towel to protect your hands when opening the bags and sliding out the omelets.
You’ll need 2 eggs per person, and I always recommend the best eggs you can find. If you have a source at the farmers market or a friend for farm fresh eggs, that’s the way to go. Have a nice selection of protein, vegetables, cheeses, herbs and seasonings. Cut everything into small pieces, so when they are in the bag, they will mix together well, and be easy to eat. I could definitely see doing theme nights with bag omelets – all Mexican ingredients or all Italian. And don’t forget you can add some toppings on the top of the cooked omelet like an extra sprinkle of cheese, a spoonful of salsa or an ingredient you may not want cooked in with the eggs, like diced avocado or some crisp diced tomato. Put out some salt and pepper as well, and maybe a few additional seasoning blends.
When I last made these for the photograph above, I created nice little spread of fillings, some grabbed off the salad bar to fill things out, some bits from my fridge. Here are some ideas from that meal:
crumbled blue cheese
grated cheddar cheese
finely diced bell peppers
diced red onion
finely chopped sage, parsley and chives
Salt and pepper
Bring a pot of water to a full boil. Each omelet-maker should write their name on the outside of a freezer-safe zip top bag. For each bag omelet, crack two eggs into a bag. Lightly seal the bag and squish the eggs around a bit to break the yolks.
Open the bag and add your choice of ingredients. Don’t use more filling than egg, you need a good ratio. Seal the bag three-quarters of the way and press out as much air out as possible, then seal the bag completely.
When everyone has their bags ready, gently lower them into the water, avoiding touching the bags to the side of the pan, and set the timer for 11 minutes. Use tongs to gently push the bags down into the water if needed. Do your best to keep the bags from touching the sides of the pot. I have done as many as 8 bags at a time.
When the timer beeps, remove the bags to a platter. Let them cool for a minute, then using oven mitts, gently open each bag and slide the omelet out onto a plate.