Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seitan Piccata with Fiddlehead Ferns, Potatoes and Onions

Dinner tonight was something quick from the freezer and the refrigerator. I defrosted a couple of seitan cutlets and fiddlehead ferns today in the refrigerator while I did other things. This was a dinner made completely from things I had in the pantry. This is my version of piccata, it is not a traditional Italian recipe. I started using Marsala after I ran out of Pinot Grigio and found I like it better this way.

If you don’t have fiddlehead ferns in the freezer, asparagus is very close in taste and makes a good substitute. If you want to purchase fiddlehead ferns out of season go to the website for Earthy Delights they normally have blanched frozen fiddlehead ferns.

This dinner took about 15 minutes to make but would be a great dinner if you have unplanned dinner quests. I have made these dishes many times and they are always well received.

Seitan Piccata with Fiddlehead Ferns, Potatoes and Onions
Serves 2

Piccata ingredients:

½ teaspoon of canola oil
2 pressure cooked seitan cutlets
¼ cup of Marsala wine
¼ cup of vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons of caper
zest and juice of one lemon
½ tablespoon of cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of cold water
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 sprigs or fresh parsley, finely minced
4 very thin slices of lemon to top piccata - optional

Fiddlehead fern ingredients:

1 teaspoon of canola oil
½ red onion, roughly chopped
5 ounces of Yukon gold potato
1 pound of fiddlehead ferns (or asparagus)
kosher salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
dried thyme, to taste
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice - optional


Scrub the potato, pierce it a few times with a paring knife and microwave a few minutes so that it is just tender. Cut the potato into bite sized pieces.

Lightly coat or spray a non-stick, or seasoned cast iron pan with canola oil and sauté the onion over medium heat. Add the potato to the pan to lightly brown.

Meanwhile heat another non-stick or seasoned cast iron pan with canola oil and sear the cutlets on both sides. Deglaze the pan with the Marsala wine and add the water and capers and put the cover on so the seitan will steam for a few minutes. If you are topping with thin lemon slices add them here.

Add the fiddlehead ferns to the potato pan and turn the heat down as low as possible and put a lid on the pan. You want the ferns to be just cooked and this will take a few minutes only. Treat the fiddleheads like you would asparagus. Season the fiddleheads and potatoes with salt, pepper and thyme, to taste. Add a little fresh lemon juice to the pan, if desired.

Add the lemon juice, lemon zest and cornstarch to the pan. Stir to incorporate the cornstarch.

Top the piccata with the sacue and then fresh parsley when you are serving.

Nutritional information (Piccata ½ of the recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 234.94
Calories From Fat (14%) - 32.18

Total Fat - 3.64g
Saturated Fat - 0.34g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 648.4mg
Potassium - 410.27mg
Total Carbohydrates - 17.25g
Fiber - 1.52g
Sugar - 1.54g
Protein - 30.24g

Nutritional information (Fiddleheads and Potatoes ½ of the recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 164.97
Calories From Fat (17%) - 28.04

Total Fat - 3.22g
Saturated Fat - 0.21g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 146.63mg
Potassium - 601.69mg
Total Carbohydrates - 28.48g
Fiber - 2.41g
Sugar - 0.57g
Protein - 11.63g


This is a great dinner when you don’t have much time but you want something a little special for dinner. My husband is going to be gone for a day and a half on business so I wanted to make a nice dinner tonight. Seitan Piccata is a family favorite (it is another Italian thing).

In the bad old days I would have served this with a chocolate and hazelnut semifreddo for dessert. I guess I should work on making a vegan version of semifreddo while my husband is away so I can surprise him when he comes home. Expect to see that semifreddo soon once I work out the details.

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