Salmiakki Sauce for Seitan and Beet ‒ Salmiakkikastike seitanille ja punajuurelle

When I dine at a restaurant I find it very pleasant if the menu clearly states what's in a given dish, for example "Chili rubbed seitan steak, raspberry vinegar marinated beets and salmiakki sauce". It gives me as a customer much better idea of what to order if the name isn't just some fancy French word I don't know how to pronounce. But when I see this elsewhere, peculiarly in recipes, for some reason I find it annoying and just trying to sound fancy, for example "engine oil rubbed Tavastian soap with small stones and slowly caramellized rubber". It's really a combination of the different ingredients or even separate dishes, and guess my logic goes that this means that any given part of that plate isn't really worth repeating or at least the recipe writer doesn't believe it is. Guess I'm only annoyed because this has becme some sort of a fad among Finnish celebrity chefs. Anyway, I try to avoid that happening in my recipes, although I realize I might just have an attitude problem. Sometimes the combination of tastes truly is the more important thing than any given part of it. Taste pairing might just be the single most important part of kitchen art.

This is the case of this recipe too. Although the part needing a recipe is really just for the sauce, I couldn't help but putting a suggestion of what comes under the sauce in the headline. These three tastes are just fine on their own, but they work especially well together, so I thought to highlight the combo. The idea came from a salmiakki marinated beet starter dish, created by a salmiakki making company, but I thought to turn it into an entrée. For the seitan, I used chili in the dough and fried them well in oil. For the beets, I sliced them thin, drizzled with oil and raspberry vinegar, as well as spiced with salt and thyme before roasting them in the oven long just long enough to still have them crunchy. The portion is crowned by the sauce which has a lot subtler aroma than you might think.

- 150 g salmiakki candy (hard ones are best in this, I used Turkinpippuri) + 1 dl water
 - 4 dl strong vegetable bouillon
- 1 dl white wine
- 2 tbsp margarine
- 2 tbsp wheat flour
- black pepper
- salt

Prepare a salmiakki syrup by putting the candies in a small bowl and pouring water on them just enough to get them covered. Turn around with a spoon when you walk by. Dissolving only takes a few hours, so if you start in the previous evening, you can be sure they'll make it in time.

Melt the margarine in a sauce pan. Shift the flour on the melted stuff and stir. Pour in the stock before the roux start to turn brown (unlike in basic brown sauce). Let the sauce thicken on a low heat, stirring occasionally. Add the salmiakki syrup and the wine. Let the sauce reduce until the consistency is thick enough to stay on the seitan. Spice with salt and pepper according to your taste buds.

Nutritional values / 798 g:
energy 882 kcal
fat 22 g
protein 2 g
carbohydrates 144 g
fiber 1 g

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