Beef and Asparagus Negimaki
Salt for water
24 thin stalks asparagus
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1 bunch scallions, greens only
1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat a grill or grill pan until hot, or prepare oven broiler.
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil.
Cut off asparagus ends to within 3 1/2 inches from tips; reserve bottoms for another use. Place tips in boiling water; cook until bright green but still crunchy, about 1 minute.
Prepare an ice-water bath.
Drain asparagus; transfer to an ice-water bath to stop cooking.
Drain asparagus again in a colander, and set aside.
Whisk together soy sauce and sugar until dissolved; set aside.
Cut scallions into 3 1/2-inch lengths, julienned lengthwise; set aside.
Slice tenderloin into 1/4-inch-thick pieces. Place one slice between two pieces of plastic; pound lightly to an even thickness.
Remove plastic; trim into 2-by-5-inch rectangle. Repeat with remaining beef.
Dip a piece of beef in soy-sauce mixture, and place on a clean surface.
Season with pepper.
Place 1 piece of scallion and 2 asparagus tips across 1 end of beef, so vegetables extend over edges; roll.
Repeat with remaining beef and vegetables.
Grill or broil negimaki, brushing with sauce and turning, until slightly charred and medium rare, about 2 minutes.
Yield: 8 servings