I’d been hearing a lot about vrapple lately. As a non-native Pennsylvanian who has never tried scrapple, I had no idea what it tasted like. As a long-time vegetarian, I’ve never truly longed for meat substitute products – they just didn’t exist when I stopped eating meat. But I understand sentimentality for the food of your youth, and figured this was a close as I was going to get to tasting one of Philadelphia’s signature foods. I picked up a frozen package at the Fair Food Stand in Reading Terminal last week ($5), with Sunday brunch on my mind.
Vrapple is a locally-made, small-batch vegan product. A real meat replacement, it’s low-fat (until you fry it in oil) though its primary ingredients of seitan, locally grown & milled cornmeal, locally grown & milled buckwheat don’t make it particularly low in calories. I had let the package thaw in my refrigerator overnight. The instructions were pretty simple – slice it thin and fry it up. A fairly thin slice (about 1/3 inch) yielded pieces that crumbled on the edges. Perhaps I should have kept it frozen?
I heated up my iron skillet and added some peppercorn and rosemary olive oil, then fried the vrapple two pieces at a time. I had to be gentle flipping it, as they sides were already crumbly, but it soaked up the oil like a champ and browned well. Even more oil (I just couldn’t bring myself to do it) might have ensured more even browning.
I kept the fried Vrapple on a plate in the microwave, adding to it as a fried, and it reheated well when my brunch guests were slow to come to the table. Though none of us had previously been scrapple fans, we agreed it was tasty with some ketchup and sriracha. I usually reserve my breakfast protein for eggs and yogurt, but Vrapple is an interesting alternative that I’ll add to my brunch repertoire.