Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Nibbles & Bites: The Omelet Station

This weekend was my not-exactly-annual BYOP (bring your own pumpkin) Party and it was a little different than the others I’ve hosted in the past. For one thing, it was ON Halloween instead of the weekend before (the reason being that carved pumpkins don’t last that long down here in Florida’s humidity) and it was held in the morning to allow guests plenty of time for other gatherings that evening or trick-or-treating.

Which meant, of course, that the meal changed from dinner to brunch–something I’ve not served to a group in quite some time.

While contemplating how to serve egg (buffet eggs can become rubbery or unpleasant as they sit plus the fact that eggs + aluminum (as in the disposable steam trays) = green eggs and, while I enjoy Dr Seuss, I tend not to disguise my food on most occasions. Enter the grill.

Grilled eggs? Not exactly. At our housewarming party this June we’d been gifted a lovely gas grill that came with a side burner. Do you see where this is going? We used the grill to hold various add-ins (diced bell peppers, mushrooms, bacon, salsa, green onions, ham and cheese) and created a satellite omelet station as part of the buffet. Allowing 2 eggs per person (plenty for an 8″ pan) plus a little milk (water can result in fluffier eggs but they can also end up watery and tasteless–I prefer to use fat free milk which adds a little more flavor), I cracked and beat enough eggs for the party and then placed them into an easy-pour 2 qt container which was kept in a cooler of ice below the burner.

Our Omelet Station Set-Up

Some other tips if you’d like to replicate this for your own party:

1) Remove the knobs from the main grill to prevent any accidental flare-ups.
2) Place a baking sheet on the grill to hold your mix-ins and cover it with a tea towel or large napkins–even the cleanest grill still looks like a grill: dress it up a bit.
3) Make sure there’s a spoon or tongs for each ingredient option as well as a spatula.
4) Non-stick pans are great, but a little cooking spray (kept on the opposite side from the open flame) never hurts.
5) Have 2 pans available in case there’s an accident with one and it needs cleaning, the spare keeps the line moving.

As I was beating those eggs before the party I wondered would anyone really want to make their own breakfast? Granted, I had both quiche (broccoli-Swiss) and hash brown casserole (with 2 types of sausage, eggs and cheddar cheese) on the main buffet, so it’s not like they had to, but I was surprised how many people did partake of the do-it-yourself egg station. Definitely something I’ll keep in mind.

It also occurs to me that it would make an excellent pasta station with the same setup. Have a large bowl of pasta pre-cooked and oiled at the ready (bowtie, penne or rotini–something easily scooped up) with a variety of mix-ins (blanched veggies and pre-cooked meats, all cut to a uniform size) and a trio of sauce variations (garlic-butter, marinara and Alfredo?). Guests could then make their own selections, give them a quick toss in the frying pan to heat up and have just the supper they want.

No such gas grill? Check out the camping section of your local sporting goods or discount store for a camp stove and can of fuel. Same results without the grill-sized footprint.

Jennifer Walker
Jennifer Walker

  1. Jennifer, I love these kinds of meals where we each make our own. Kind of like the make your own pizza or sundae’s. They’re really fun and you learn about your guests REAL likes/dislikes too!

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