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Could it be….seitan???

IMG_0406Recently I bumped into David Sweeney, the fine chef/owner of almost-vegetarian restaurant Dynamic Dish, at Whole Foods Market. We had a laugh because Sweeney, who is not vegetarian, was buying shrimp for dinner, while I was planning a meal around this blue box of seitan.

Seitan — a spongy protein made from wheat gluten — has long been a butt of my jokes. Then I tried it, and I have to say, developed a taste for it. I like the mild flavor that brings to mind a bowl of Cream of Wheat. I like the spongy texture that bounces back in your mouth like a Chicken McNugget. I like the way the semi-porous mass absorbs and melds flavors. Seitan is the perfect conduit for a subtle sauce.

And so it has made its way into the rotation in our house. I’ve learned to appreciate seitan not as a substitute for meat, but for its own gluten-y goodness.

Has anyone else gone to the gluten side?

12 comments Add your comment

Jamie Gumbrecht

February 26th, 2010
10:44 am

We are so there, but there are limits to how we use it. It’s not pretty. And while it’s been a long time since I’ve actually eaten or cooked meat, this has so many of the same slightly icky qualities during preparation that I don’t like to handle it. I’ve taken to running it through the slicer on the food processor, dropping it in a frying pan with a quarter of an onion and a little olive oil, letting it hang out in there for a while with some bbq sauce and slapping it on a bun. So easy, so tasty, so gluten-y.

Matt Freedman

February 26th, 2010
10:59 am

I didn’t like the texture of the West Soy seitan – like a waterlogged corpse. So I tried the Seitan Cutlets recipe from VEGANOMICON. Wayyyy too chewy for us. Next up: the Seitan/Chickpea cutlets recipe from the same book.

Petie The Crab

February 26th, 2010
11:36 am

I smoked some 2 weeks ago and have yet to develop a lasting taste for it.

Alan D

February 26th, 2010
11:39 am

By all indications in the latest research, wheat gluten is a major contributor to heart disease in many people. I would not include this as a part of my regular diet. Soy is a much better meat substitute, if is not overly processed. Try Tempeh.

Petie The Crab

February 26th, 2010
11:39 am

Freaknik isn’t pretty either Jamie. Thanks for stirring the pot yesterday.

Stephanie

February 26th, 2010
12:28 pm

We love Seitan…care to share some of your fave recipes?

Brian White

February 26th, 2010
1:10 pm

“I smoked some 2 weeks ago and have yet to develop a lasting taste for it.”
@Petie – Dude you’re supposed to eat it not smoke it :)

(j/k)

Petie The Crab

February 26th, 2010
1:48 pm

Durnit, nothing comes with instructions any more.

LizR

February 26th, 2010
4:45 pm

It is kind of fun (and certanly cheaper) to make your own. Basically you make a dough ball from whole wheat flour and water, knead it, and then soak it in a bigger bowl of water before rinsing out the starch. Then you simmer it in a flavorful broth.

Spiceaholic

February 28th, 2010
9:28 am

I’ve tried that brand and wasn’t too crazy about it. The Whole Foods hot bar sometimes has seitan dishes and when I’ve tried those they’re pretty good. I wonder if they use that brand or if they’re making their own?

Margie

February 28th, 2010
6:50 pm

Dana

March 1st, 2010
4:14 pm

Ha, John, love the title of this blog. A little old skool SNL reference, awesome.