Japanese cooks wrap tender beef around green onions to make bite-size rolls called negimaki. In this riff on the classic, green onions are replaced with pencil-thin asparagus. Serve them as single spears, as here, or wrap each spear more completely in the meat and brown evenly, then cut the spears crosswise into pieces and serve like pieces of sushi.
Beef and Asparagus Negimaki
- 1 boneless sirloin steak, about 1 1/2 lb. (24 oz./750 g) and 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) thick
- 24 thin asparagus, about 1 lb. (500 g), tough ends removed
- 1 Tbs. canola oil
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) soy sauce, preferably low-sodium
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) sake
- 2 Tbs. turbinado sugar
1. Wrap the steak in plastic wrap and freeze for 20 minutes to make it easier to slice. Holding a long, thin knife at a 45-degree angle, slice the meat thinly across the grain into 24 slices, each 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. (Reserve any remaining steak for another use.)
2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Have ready a large bowl of ice water. Add the asparagus pieces to the boiling water and cook just until bright green but still firm, about 30 seconds. Drain and immediately transfer them to the ice water. Let stand until cool, about 2 minutes, then drain again and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
3. Lay a strip of steak on a work surface with a short end toward you. Center 1 asparagus piece across the meat and roll away from you, enclosing the asparagus in a tight roll. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat to make 24 rolls.
4. In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in batches, add the beef rolls, seam side down, and brown the bottoms, 1 minute. Turn to brown the rolls on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer the rolls to a plate and set aside.
5. Add the soy sauce, sake and sugar to the pan, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Return all the beef rolls to the pan along with their accumulated juices and cook until the meat is tender, about 4 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the rolls to a serving platter.
6. Boil to reduce the pan liquid until syrupy, about 4 minutes. Brush the glaze evenly over the beef rolls and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
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