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Steak Me, I’m Yours

seitan steak sandwich fennel peppers mushroom squeeze
“Take me, I’m yours because dreams are made of this.”

Theme song by Squeeze “Take Me I’m Yours” from U.K. Squeeze
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If I had to choose a quintessential British New Wave band that defined the early ’80s, that band would be Squeeze. They combined elements of synth-pop, Britpop, new wave, and even a touch of punk and into brilliant quirky pop tunes. The theme for this recipe is a great example. A synth-pop base & new wave vocal vaguely calling up the Eurythmics but then coupled with pop-punky guitar bursts. Plus, it’s got a hook that’ll stick in your head for days. While  I never owned the U.K Squeeze album, but damn if I don’t know quite a few tracks on it. I prefer the Cool For Cats through Sweets From A Stranger era, but they continued to turn out great songs across every album. What I love most about Squeeze is their sheer pop music joy. 

I’m on a mission to prove plant-based sandwiches can be just as decadent as their carnivore cousins. This is a prime example of the mission. No one is going to be fooled by seitan steaks into thinking it’s been, but that’s not the point. This has all the meaty savory messy comfort of any steak and mushroom sandwich. It’s not trying to be steak. It’s trying to be delicious (and succeeds). Really, isn’t that all we really need from a sandwich?

(By the way, you’ll have some leftover steaks from this recipe. Let me suggest making some burritos.)

Seitan steak & mushrooms, caramelized fennel & red pepper, & pickled red onion on mozzarella garlic bread
Makes 2 sandwiches

2 marinated Seitan steaks, sliced thin (see recipe below)
4 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
8-ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced thin
2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
2 tablespoons Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar
1 red pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 small fennel, stems & fronds removed, sliced vertically then into thin strips
1 tablespoon minced fennel fronds
2 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
4 cloves of garlic, minced fine
3-ounces mozzarella, sliced
Pickled red onion (see recipe below)
2 fresh Italian rolls

Preheat the broiler.

Combine the butter and garlic in a small bowl and set aside.

In a non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the fennel, red pepper, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper. Saute until the fennel is charred and the red pepper is caramelized. Cover and set aside.

In a cast-iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the remaining olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the mushrooms, remaining kosher salt, and remaining black pepper. Cook until the mushrooms are soft and add the seitan steak. Cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and the seitan is lightly charred. Add the vinegar and toss to thoroughly coat everything. Reduce the heat and cook for 2-4 minutes until the liquid is mostly evaporated, stirring often.

Cut the Italian rolls open lengthwise and spread garlic butter on the inside of both rolls. Divide the mozzarella between the rolls, laying in the roll on top of the garlic butter. Place under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the roll is lightly browned.

Divide the seitan and mushrooms between the two rolls. Top with the fennel and red pepper, some pickled red onions, and some of the reserved fennel fronds.

Makes 6-8 steaks

For the seitan
1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup cooked small red beans
1/3 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons red miso
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon MSG
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the seitan marinade
2 scallion, white & greens minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup strong coffee, room temperature
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

Make the Seitan Steaks
Add all of the seitan ingredients to a food processor except the vital wheat gluten and blend into a smooth sauce. Add the vital wheat gluten and blend until well mixed, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed until everything is well mixed. There will be some dry spots but that’s ok.

(Alternatively, if you do not have a food processor you can first mash the cooked beans with a fork or potato masher, then add everything together in a large bowl and mix well.)

Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and begin to knead it together. It may be a bit crumbly at first, but keep kneading it for a few minutes until it comes together into a tight ball. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes on the counter covered with a clean towel.

After the dough has rested, knead it for 2-3 minutes. Then cut the ball into 5-ounce pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll out each section into 1/2″ thick steaks. The dough will be very tough and stretchy, but just keep working at it until you get your desired steak shapes. 

Put the steaks in the steamer basket and cover them with a lid. It’s ok if they are overlapping a bit. Steam for 28 minutes, flipping the steaks halfway through so they steam evenly. They will double in size. Remove from steamer and let cool for 15 minutes.

Place the steaks in a large ziplock bag or air-tight container, mix the marinade ingredients and pour into the bag. Let marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes before cooking, or even better, overnight.

Makes 1 pint

1 red onion, sliced thin
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Place red onion in a medium bowl or jar. In a small bowl, combine water, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Mix until sugar dissolves. Pour over red onion and toss to combine. Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

Posted in bushwick, comfort food, cooking, food, foodmusic, music, musicfood, recipe, sandwich, seitan, vegetarian


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