Beetroot and mozzarella salad with beetroot meringues

Possibly the prettiest salad ever. Adding beetroot juice to mini meringues makes them beautifully pink and the cream cheese, pickled beetroot and salad leaves add a savoury note.

Ingredients

For the beetroot meringues
  • 4 egg whites
  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 50ml/2fl oz beetroot juice
For the pickled beetroot
  • 4 heritage beetroots
  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 200ml/7fl oz rice wine vinegar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 banana shallots, thinly sliced
For the beetroot purée
  • 400ml/14fl oz beetroot juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
To serve
  • 200g/7oz cream cheese
  • 150g/5½oz baby mozzarella
  • watercress leaves, to garnish
  • chervil leaves, to garnish
  • baby sorrel leaves, to garnish

Preparation method

  1. For the beetroot meringues, preheat the oven to 65C/150F/Gas ¼ and line two baking trays with silicone mats.

  2. Place the egg whites in a large food processor with a whisk attachment and whisk until stiff peaks are formed when the whisk is removed.

  3. With the motor running, gradually add the sugar until you have a glossy meringue. Slowly add the beetroot juice a tablespoon at a time until you have an even, rich pink colour.

  4. Spoon half the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a small, plain nozzle and spread the other half very thinly over a silicone lined baking tray using a palette knife. Pipe tiny meringues onto the other silicone lined baking tray. Bake in the oven for 3 hours then set aside to cool.

  5. For the pickled beetroot, place the beetroots in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 40-50 minutes, or until the beetroots are tender. Set aside to cool.

  6. Once the beetroots are cool enough to handle, peel and cut them into quarters. Set aside.

  7. Place the sugar, rice wine vinegar and salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the cooked beetroots and sliced shallot and set aside until needed.

  8. For the beetroot purée, place the beetroot juice in a pan and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the xantham gum and the heat the pan gently, whisking until thick, then set aside.

  9. To serve, use a pastry brush to brush the purée onto plates. Dot the piped meringues, shards of meringue, cream cheese, baby mozzarella, pickled beetroot and shallot pieces around the plate. Garnish with watercress, chervil and baby sorrel leaves.

James Martin recipes from Saturday Kitchen

30 mins to 1 hour preparation time

Over 2 hours cooking time

Serves 4