Recently 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?