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Balsamic & Agave Glazed Seitan

Reprinted with permission from "Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine" by Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby

(Serves 2-3)

This seitan dish predated the BBQ seitan at Horizons Café. A lot of people said it reminded them of spareribs at a Chinese restaurant. The ingredients are simple and so is the preparation once you get the vinegar reduced. The sauce keeps for a very long time in the refrigerator, and this is a great recipe to make for first-time seitan eaters, especially if you are using small bits of seitan.

Balsamic vinegars vary greatly. If you feel your sauce is too acidic or sour when it reduces, feel free to adjust the amount of agave used. Agave is a fructose-rich nectar from the blue agave cactus plant. It has a really interesting sweet flavor and yet is easy on the bloodstream as far as sugars go. I love working with it.

For an Asian touch, add a dash or two of Five Spice Powder. For a Caribbean touch, pour in 1/4 cup of dark rum while the vinegar is reducing.

24 ounces balsamic vinegar

6 ounces agave syrup

3 teaspoons tamari soy sauce

1 tablespoon canola oil

16 ounces seitan, drained and rinsed

Pour the vinegar into a medium saucepot and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and let the vinegar reduce by 2/3. This will take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour, depending on the vinegar, pot, and stove. When it looks like it has thickened, dip a spoon in the vinegar. It should just coat the back of a spoon.

Add the agave syrup and tamari, stir and remove from heat.

If the sauce gets really thick as it cools, then just add a bit of water (1 tablespoon at a time) to loosen it. At room temperature, it should be the consistency of molasses.

When ready, heat oil in a thin wok or griddle pan until it starts to ripple.

Add the seitan and brown it on each side.

Drizzle the balsamic sauce over the browned seitan and let it coat and caramelize around the seitan, turning the seitan in the pan as needed to coat all sides (about 2 to 4 minutes).

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