Recipe by Lori Ross
1 (1-lb.) piece flank steak (roughly 6 to 7 inches square)
12 small scallions, trimmed to 6-inch lengths
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup sake (Japanese rice wine)
1/4 cup mirin* (Japanese sweet rice wine)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sugar
Special equipment needed: a meat pounder, plastic wrap or parchment paper, and kitchen string.
*Available at Asian markets, and some supermarkets.
Holding a large knife at a 30-degree angle to cutting board, cut flank steak with the grain into 12 slices (1/8-inch thick and 1-1/2 to 2 inches wide). Arrange slices 1 inch apart on plastic wrap or a very lightly oiled sheet of parchment paper. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap or very lightly oiled sheet of parchment (oiled side down), and pound slices with flat side of meat pounder until about 1/16-inch thick.
Arrange three beef slices side by side on a fresh sheet of plastic wrap, overlapping slices slightly to form a 6-inch square with short ends of slices nearest you. Sprinkle lightly with a pinch of salt, then lay three scallions (with some white parts at both ends) across slices at end closest to you and tightly roll up meat around scallions to form a log, using plastic wrap as an aid. Tie the log with kitchen string at ends and at intervals along the log where the slices overlap. Make three more negimaki rolls in same manner.
Stir together sake, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl until sugar is dissolved. Heat a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, 1 to 2 minutes. While the skillet is heating, brush rolls with marinade, letting excess drip off, and pat dry. (Save marinade.) Add oil to skillet, swirling to coat bottom, then cook rolls. Turning with tongs, until well browned on all sides, 4 to 5 minutes total for medium-rare. (If you prefer, instead of cooking the rolls in the skillet, grill them 4 to 5 minutes, turning them halfway through.) Transfer rolls to cutting board. Add marinade to skillet and boil until slightly syrupy, 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Cut off and discard strings; cut each roll crosswise into six slices. Pour sauce into a shallow serving dish and arrange negimaki in sauce. Makes 24 rolls.