I guessed that seitan was some type of vegetarian protein. The dish was attractive-along with small pieces of a brownish-looking substance I assumed was the seitan, there were big chunks of tomatoes, red peppers, and onions swimming in a red sauce. I'll try anything once, so I put a bit of the cacciatore on my plate along with my other foods. I paid for my lunch, sat at a table, and dug in. Much to my surprise, the seitan was not just ok, it was good; it was denser than tofu, with an interesting chewy texture. I had to know exactly what it was, so I came home and did a little Web research.
Turns out this is definitely an ingredient you want to avoid if you have a gluten sensitivity. Seitan (pronounced say-tahn) is an alternative to soy-based meat substitutes like tofu. According to Wikipedia:
Wheat gluten, also called seitan, wheat meat, gluten meat, or simply gluten, is a food made from the gluten of wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.Seitan was first developed in China several centuries ago, and is now often used instead of meat in Asian, Buddhist, vegetarian, and macrobiotic cuisines. Like tofu, it doesn't have much taste on its own, but can pick up the flavors of the foods with which it is cooked. Based on today's experience, I'd agree with that assessment. I'd definitely eat seitan again.