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A recipe from the Candle 79 Cookbook: Seitan Piccata

Seitan PiccataWant to try a recipe before purchasing your copy of Candle 79′s hotly anticipated new cookbook? Cook up this Seitan Piccata— it’s the restaurant’s most famous dish.

“We’ve been serving it for so long, and people come in and say ‘That was the best veal I’ve ever had,’ says Joy Pierson, co-owner of Candle 79.

Seitan Piccata

6 seitan cutlets (about 11⁄2 pounds; recipe below)
Whole wheat flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄4 cup minced shallots
1⁄4 cup finely sliced leek, white and pale green parts
1 teaspoon sea salt
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup white wine
1⁄4 cup capers, drained
2 cups vegetable stock or water
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1⁄8 teaspoon ground turmeric
1⁄4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Caper berries, for garnish
1 lemon, thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)

Serves 6
Dredge the cutlets in the whole wheat flour, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the cutlets and cook until crisp and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Place the cutlets on individual plates or a platter.

Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil in another sauté pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, leek, salt, and pepper and sauté until soft and translucent, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the all-purpose flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly, to make a roux. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and stir well to incorporate the flour. Add the capers, stock, bay leaf, minced parsley, thyme, turmeric, and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until the sauce becomes slightly glossy, about 10 minutes.

Spoon the sauce onto serving plates and place the cutlets atop the sauce. Garnish with the caper berries and the optional chopped parsley and lemon slices. Serve at once.

Seitan Cutlets

7 cups unbleached bread flour
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
41⁄2 cups water
11⁄2 teaspoons sea salt
8 cups vegetable stock or water
1⁄4 cup tamari
1 piece of kombu
1 piece of wakame

Makes 6 to 8 cutlets, about 11⁄2 pounds

Put the flours in a bowl. Mix the water and salt together and add to the flour. Stir until the mixture forms a ball of dough. When you have a nice ball, cover with water and let stand for 1 hour.

Pour off the water and rinse the dough under cold running water until the water is almost clear. Divide the dough into 2 balls.

Put the stock in a large soup pot and bring to a boil. Add the tamari, kombu, and wakame and decrease the heat. Add the balls of dough and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours, until they are firm and slice easily.

Drain the stock from the pot, reserving the stock if not using the seitan right away. Transfer the seitan to a bowl, add enough cold water to cover, and let sit for about 10 minutes. Drain and slice the seitan into 1⁄2-inch-thick cutlets.

If not using the seitan at this point, store it (sliced or unsliced) in 4 cups of the reserved stock, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Alternatively, the cutlets can be frozen (without the stock) for up to 3 months.

Reprinted with permission from Candle 79 Cookbook: Modern Vegan Classics from New York’s Premier Sustainable Restaurant. Copyright © 2011 by Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos, and Jorge Pineda. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo credit: Rita Maas