I first had these rolls at a lovely Japanese restaurant near work. I don’t eat much sushi, especially here in Texas where I only half-trust the fish, so I order a lot of teriyaki and tempura dishes. When I saw beef asparagus rolls on the menu, I got pretty excited. A roll without fish? Genius! I had to have them. I was a bit surprised when they arrived, though, because they were not your traditional rolls at all. No rice. No nori. Just grilled asparagus wrapped in grilled beef and garnished with a hint of soy. So simple. So elegant. So easy to reproduce at home.
I’m very lucky, in that the Asian market near my apartment sells this amazingly thin sliced meat. Chicken, lamb, beef, you name it. The lamb is great seared and stuffed into some pita with tzatziki. The chicken makes some fun sandwiches. And the beef made these fun little rolls that I just can’t wait to make again. If you don’t have access to deli-thin raw meat, put a lean steak in the freezer for 20 minutes or so and carefully shave off thin slices with a very sharp knife.
I served them with tempura veggies and sticky rice pressed into happy little star shapes. It’s a meal I wish I could take to work, because every last bite of it makes me smile.
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 pound asparagus spears
1/3-1/2 pound beef, sliced very thin
salt and soy sauce to taste
Steam the asparagus for a few minutes until approximately al dente. This took about 5 minutes for me, with my fairly thick spears, but yours may be longer or shorter depending on your taste and the asparagus you buy.
Take two or three spears of asparagus and wrap them snugly with a layer or two of beef.
Repeat until you’ve got a nice pile of rolls.
Heat up a cast iron skillet or grill pan. Sprinkle a roll with salt and grill on the stove over medium-high heat, rolling the asparagus continually to cook all sides evenly and to keep it from sticking to the pan.
It’s not too different from cooking a hot dog. These are way easier to cook one at a time, so be patient with them. They take about 5 minutes apiece to cook to medium. Mr. B would have eaten them raw if I’d let him, so I didn’t cook his as long. Sprinkle them with soy sauce before serving. In the restaurant they were served sliced into bite-sized pieces, edible with chopsticks. I was too hungry by the time I’d finished cooking to bother, so I declared them finger food. Mr B didn’t mind.
Serve with rice and tempura and enjoy!