Winter is finally on its way out! I feel as though I’ve been hibernating for a solid two months (with the exception of my Singapore trip and Wednesday night French classes) and I’m ready to get back to real life. It’s strange how “springing forward” completely changes my mentality. All of a sudden I’m ready to go back into the gym (we’re going to the beach at the end of May, ahhhh), finish the taxes (thanks, husband!), work on career plans, and get that long overdue oil change, etc. It really does help that it’s not pitch black on the way home from work.
This week my colleagues are visiting from Cork, Ireland so the regular work week routine has been broken up a bit. It’s definitely a good thing, since life in Stamford can be rather monotonous. Because I’ve got after work dinner functions with the group, I wanted to ensure the husband wasn’t left to his own devices for dinner. Not that he can’t handle it…it’s just simply something I like to do for him. So Sunday was spent preparing a batch of my cioppino-style soup (I subbed out the white wine for a dash of Pernod, the cod for bay scallops, and really loved the results). Then last night, with Martha Stewart’s guidance, I decided to prepare my own version of beef, scallion, and asparagus rolls, aka negimaki. It’s a simple dish that takes only a bit of time to prep – but the flavors are robust and satisfying. With a fridge full of leftovers – we’re pretty much set until Friday!
1 Bunch of thin stalks asparagus (about 24 or so)
1 bunch of scallions
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 bunch scallions, greens only
1 1/2 pounds flank steak
Freshly ground black pepper, ground ginger, garlic powder, crushed red chili flakes, to taste
For blanching the asparagus
First, prep and blanch the asparagus. Heat a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil and trim the ends of the asparagus (there’s no need to toss out the ends; I’m saving the bottoms for a veggie stock later in the week). When the water is boiling and you’ve got an ice-water bath ready on the side, add in the asparagus and cook for about one minute. The asparagus will be bright green. Quickly drain the asparagus and transfer to the ice-water bath. This will stop the cooking so that the asparagus still has a nice crunch. Then, drain the asparagus once more in a colander and set aside.
Preheat the broiler and broiler pan(s). While it is heating up, mix together the soy sauce, sugar and fish sauce. Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar. Divide about 5 tablespoons of the mixture into another bowl (this will serve as additional sauce later on). At this point, prep the scallions by chopping off the white ends. Set aside.
Finally, prep the beef. The flank steak should be at room temperature. Cut the beef into 1/4-inch-thick slices, or as thin as you can go. Feel free to pound the meat a bit, if necessary. Season the beef with freshly ground black pepper, ground ginger, garlic powder, crushed red chili flakes. I didn’t use any scientific measurements here; just went with a dash here and there.
Dunk a slice of beef in the soy-sauce mixture, and place on a clean surface. Then gather a bundle of asparagus spears (about 2-3) and a scallion across one end of beef slice, roll and set aside. Repeat the process with the remaining beef and vegetables. Since my husband doesn’t like scallions, most of my rolls only included asparagus.
Arrange the negamaki rolls on the preheated broiler pan(s). Broil the rolls on high, brushing with sauce and turning, until slightly charred and medium rare, about 2 minutes. If you’d like the beef a little less red, cook for up to 5 minutes. Ultimately, this will depend on the heat from your broiler. Serve with white rice, extra sauce, and Sriracha.