250 ml (1 cup)beetroot juice (about 500gm beetroot; see note)250 ml (1 cup)white vinegar110 gm (½ cup)white sugar2fresh bay leaves3cloves2 tspblack peppercorns1 tspdried chilli flakes½cinnamon quill24quail eggs6mint leaves (optional)
Bring beetroot juice, vinegar, sugar, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, chilli, cinnamon and ½ tsp sea salt to the boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, remove from heat and keep warm.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil over high heat, add quail eggs, cook for 2 minutes, drain and refresh in iced water. Carefully peel eggs, place in a 500ml sterilised jar, pour warm beetroot juice mixture over, set aside to cool, add mint leaves, seal with a lid and refrigerate to pickle (2 weeks). John's beetroot-pickled quail eggs will keep refrigerated for 2 months.
Note To make beetroot juice, coarsely chop beetroot and pass through a juice extractor. Alternatively, process beetroot in a food processor until finely puréed, then pass through a fine sieve.
This recipe is from the May 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.
The recipe for these quail eggs comes from my neighbour John, a quail egg supplier. The beetroot juice gives the eggs an iridescent colour that looks fabulous in a salad of beetroot, Spanish onion and bitter greens such as chicory, raddichio and beetroot leaves, or with strips of crisp bacon, toasted walnuts and a mustard cream dressing. You'll need to begin this recipe two weeks ahead.