Negi-Maki (Beef and Scallion Rolls)

These can also be made with baby asparagus spears. Boil the asparagus until just done, then use only the tender top parts in the rolls. This recipe makes enough for an appetizer for 4 people.

1/2 lb well-marbled beef, sliced into 8 thin 4″ x 6″ pieces

8 scallions (skinny ones), trimmed

1 T peanut oil

2 T Japanese soy sauce

1 1/2 T sugar

1 T sake

1 T dashi, or water

If the beef pieces aren’t thin enough (they should be about 1/16″ thick), pound the slices with the side of a cleaver to flatten them.  Lay a slice on a cutting board, with the long side running from right to left. Lay a scallion lengthwise along it at the bottom, then roll up like a jelly roll.  Repeat with the rest of the beef and scallions. Tie the rolls closed with kitchen string.

Heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat and fry the rolls, truning them to brown them on all sides. Add the rest of the ingredients, and braise, turning often, for two or three minutes, adjusting the heat to keep the soy sauce from scorching. When the rolls are glossy from the sauce, remove them to a cutting board and slice each one into 4ths. Serve them with a little of the sauce from the skillet dribbled over them.

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