For years I thought that meringues were complicated. It wasn’t until I got familiar with my electric mixer that I realized how wonderful the fluffy egg stuff could be. While it won’t take all the work out of making a meringue, a proper mixer will make it a fun undertaking instead of a loathsome chore.
As my familiarity and comfort with meringues grew, I began to experiment. Here are some of the tastiest results of my work with savory meringues. You can use these recipes to compliment a full lunch or dinner dish or on their own as a tasty treat.
As An Accent
I was first inspired to make a savory meringue as an exercise in food presentation. A meringue topping can be placed on top of a pie, after all, to make something that resembles a work of art. What about some baked fish or meat? If you’re baking something at a low temperature (275 -300) for about 30 minutes, a meringue should cook automatically alongside it, right?
The answer is yes!
While some foods don’t go well with sugary flavors, you can absolutely bake a meringue alongside a cut of meat. You don’t have to be especially gentle with the temperature either. Meringues will absolutely survive being in a 475 F oven for a half hour or so.
Here’s a basic meringue you can use to accent something you’ll bake, especially fish:
6 eggs worth of egg whites
1/4 to 1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp flour
herbs, lemon zest, or other garnishes to top
About 1.5 lb of salmon fillet, with skin
First, preheat your oven to 450. You’ll want to prepare a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet to assemble everything on.
Next, pour your egg whites and lemon juice into your mixing bowl and go to town. Beat this mixture until soft peaks form. Once you start to get peaks, gradually add in the salt and resume beating until you get stiff peaks. Finally, turn your mixer down to low and blend in the flour.
You can assemble your meringue and your fillet however you’d like. I like to lay down a base that’s slightly bigger than my fillet and then place most of the meringue on top. You can put herbs on top of your meringue now or wait until after you’re done cooking. Once everything is arranged to your satisfaction, place your baking sheet in the oven for about half an hour or until the fish reaches 145 F.
Cheesy Meringue Puffs
If you want something a bit more standalone, these cheesy puffs are great snacks that you can enjoy on their own or serve alongside a main dish. They’re pretty simple to make, too!
4 eggs worth of egg whites
about 1 cup grated cheese
To begin, preheat your oven to 275 F. Pour your egg whites into a mixing bowl and proceed to beat them until they’re very, very stiff. Beat until the eggs will stay inside a bowl that’s flipped upside down.
Once you’ve thoroughly beaten your eggs, gradually mix in the grated cheese. Be careful not to agitate your meringue too much so the air bubbles stay inside.
Spoon out little meringue clumps onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Don’t worry about the shape of these clumps: little messy piles are fine.
Stick your baking sheet in the oven until the meringues begin to get firm, about 10 minutes. Once your timer goes off, switch the oven off and let the meringues dry out for at least 30 minutes. It can take up to 2 hours to get the results I like, but you’re free to remove yours whenever.
Serve and enjoy!
Further Thoughts On Cheesy Meringue Puffs
While a cooking snob would be keen to point out that these aren’t really meringues, they’re definitely delicious. Try brushing them with a bit of garlic powder, salt, or other flavorings to really amp up the flavor. I love sharing these with kids as a fun, healthy snack.
Meringue Without Sugar: Is It Really Meringue?
There’s a pretty big shift in the texture of beaten eggs when you add sugar. This is one of the key elements to what makes a true “meringue.” Most savory meringue recipes don’t call for sugar, however. Are they really meringues?
To me, this is a semantic debate and not an important culinary one. If you talk about a “savory meringue,” all I think about are very fluffy eggs. I’m willing to overlook pretty substantial differences in texture when compared to what I’d get on a pie. I also immediately know what you’re talking about.
This means that as far as I’m concerned, savory meringues without sugar are still meringues. You’re free to disagree, of course. If you think that a meringue needs to have sugar and that special meringue-like texture in order to be called a meringue, feel free to call the recipes on this page something else.
Accent Your Dinners With Savory Meringues
You can beat just about any combination of flavors into stiff eggs to create the perfect accent for any food. Try different combinations of herbs, spices, or even small amounts of sauces to compliment various meats, salads, and other dishes. With a bit of practice, you’ll be able to adapt the above recipes in your own ways to make some incredibly stylish and tasty dinners.