Total time: 45 minutes || Active time: 45 minutes
Opening up my own tattered copy of Veganomicon on a Saturday night to make something special after a really rough day, I of course turn straight to the Seitan Piccata. I don’t need to read the recipe, it’s as much a natural function to me as walking and breathing. But I wanted to see exactly how it was written. Because the thing is, when I created it for Veganomicon I…well, I wasn’t as experienced at writing recipes as I am now.
That is to say: sometimes I look at the directions in older recipes and think “Holy hell, no way I’m doing all that!” As the years go on, I get, well not lazier, but let’s just say more efficient. Like any craft, recipe writing can take years to master. And so I present you with a revised Piccata. I’ve streamlined the directions a little, as well as the ingredients list, and this version is, I think, a little bit easier to accomplish on a weeknight. The changes I made were pretty basic: onions instead of shallots (since I always have them), upped the garlic (because, duh, more garlic always), upped the wine and added a little nooch for thickening. I also top with whatever fresh herbs I have on hand, and this time it was chives.
And so here’s an updated version with all of the lemony capery goodness intact! I hope that you’ll love it as much as (if not more than) the original.
~ I love to use Homemade Seitan in this recipe. And you can streamline the seitan recipe, too. Leave out the garlic since there’s plenty of garlic in the piccata. And why not go ahead and leave out the lemon juice, too. It results in a firmer seitan that works perfectly here.
~ To get everything done in a decent amount of time, follow this schedule: 1) Make the seitan a day ahead, giving it plenty of time to cool. 2) Start the mashed potatoes before everything else. 3) Saute or steam greens in the last 10 minutes of your piccata reducing. By that point, your potatoes should be done and the stovetop should be at least a little less hectic.
~ For the broth in the piccata sauce, you can totally use a cup of leftover broth from the simmered seitan. Add one cup of water to get the two cups you need, since the seitan broth will be very strong.
1 lb seitan, sliced into 1/4 inch thick strips
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1 pinch dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup capers, with brine
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
Chopped fresh chives or parsley
Mashed potatoes (I used Caulipots from Appetite for Reduction)
Sauteed greens (I used red chard)
Preheat a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat.
Dredge half the seitan slices in flour to coat. Add a thin layer of olive oil to the pan, and cook seitan until lightly browned, about two minutes on each side. Coat the other slices and repeat. Place the cooked seitan on a plate and cover with aluminum foil, to keep warm.
Do not rinse out the skillet, as you’re going to make the sauce in it. If there is enough oil left in the seitan the go ahead and saute the onions in it. if not, add a little oil and saute them for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add garlic and saute for a minute or so.
Add the wine and raise the heat to bring to a rolling boil. Add the vegetable broth, salt, black pepper, and thyme. Let boil and reduce for about 7 minutes.
Lower heat, add capers and lemon juice, plus the nutritional yeast to thicken a bit. Cook for another minute or so, to heat the capers through.
Serve over mashed potatoes and greens, with plenty of sauce on top. Garnish with chopped chives.