My bf recently had a birthday, and since I have no trabajo and am subsisting on unemployment, I decided to make him a fancy pantsy dinner instead of taking him out to a nice resto (Although I did consider going to the new Plant Café on the Embarcadero, would make a nice date spot, veggie kids!). I knew he liked seitan and asparagus, so that was my outline. As I contemplated the two ingredients, a recent conversation about the types of meat I once liked as an omni (Yes, I still remember.) popped into my head. One of my favorite things was Steak Oscar (steak with hollandaise sauce and asparagus), and I thought, why not try to reproduce that in an elegant veggie dinner?
I did this by using packaged White Wave seitan (this stuff is the bestest best pre-made seitan ever). For this, I sautéed some garlic and chili peppers in olive oil, added the seitan and seasoned with some herbs de provence, a little extra thyme and salt and pepper. I then sautéed the asparagus in EB until just barely tender and sprinkled it with salt and pepper and a splash of lemon. To round out the meal, I made lemony potatoes from Veganomicon (I seriously think it’s a requirement for boys to love potatoes). Lastly, I used the recipe for hollandaise from VeganYumYum with some extra EB and fresh parsley added, which was well, yummy, but not terribly hollandaisish. I plan to do some experimenting and come up with my own recipe at some point (I’m thinking possible avocado or coconut milk based). The end product was an elegant veg meal that the bf seemed to enjoy a lot.
We paired it with bubbly, of course. Champagne can be a great counter to rich foods, and it made a nice complement to all the citrus in the meal. It cuts through the fats and cleanses the palate, readying it for the next bite of food.
I thought I’d share some photos of variations of this meal I’ve made in the past. First off, this is a veggie tube sausage I grilled up with pre-packaged vegan white gravy with mushrooms added.
Here is a version with roasted broccolini, which is super easy. Just toss it with olive oil, chili peppers, garlic, salt and pepper and maybe some lemon and roast until tender at about 360 degrees. I also made some canned beans on the side that I gussied up with some extra spices and a splash of lemon. To add some starch, I made brown rice in veggie broth.
For pairing, seitan is a versatile food that, like tofu, takes on the flavors of the things you cook it with. Although it is often used in a similar manner to red meat, it doesn’t overwhelm white wines in the same way many red meats can, so go ahead pair it with a nice chilled white or bottle of sparkling. You might even go for a blanc de noirs with a bit of light fruit and mouth watering acid. These can make great summer deals, especially if you stick to $20 Cali versions.