Negimaki – scallion rolls – are an old favorite of mine, plucked from the pages of Japanese-American restaurant menus. These tasty little rolls are normally made with beef and the recipe is a spinoff of a sushi roll typically made with bluefin tuna. Here I make them with venison and cedar wraps for a slightly sweet, earthy flavor boost (and some structural support, too).
Total Time: 1.25 hours
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 5-10 minutes
- ~1 pound Venison Steak, cut thin with the grain
- 10-12 Green Onions, both ends trimmed
- ¾ cup Sake
- ½ cup Mirin
- ¼ cup Soy Sauce
- 3 Tbsp Sugar, divided in half
- ½ tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
- Pinch of ground Ginger
- 1 Tbsp high-temperature, mildly-flavored oil (grapeseed, safflower, canola, etc.)
- Cedar Grilling Wraps (twine is included)
- Pot, filled with lightly salted water
- Deep (3”+) cast iron pan or baking pan
- The sharpest knife in your drawer
- Meat mallet and saran wrap
I like to use longer cuts of venison for this dish, like a bottom round. If you’re pressed for time, Soy Vay’s Veri Veri Teriyaki sauce is a great choice in lieu of making your own sauce.
- Start by placing the grilling cedar wraps in cool water to soak. The longer the merrier, you want them to be as supple as possible because you’ll be using them to hold
together your rolls.
- Preheat your oven to 400°F, and lightly brush down your cast iron or baking pan with the high-temperature cooking oil of your choice.
- Mix the sake, mirin, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, and ground ginger together, then stir in half the sugar until it’s fully dissolved. Pour it into a non-reactive bowl or dish and set aside.
- Slice your venison as thin as your knife will allow. Cut with the grain of the meat, and take your time to get nice, long pieces. Use a meat mallet to pound it to about 1/8” thickness, place the slices in the mirin mixture to marinate as you go.
- Get a pot of lightly salted water boiling. While it’s heating up, fill a bowl with ice cubes and cold water. When the water in the pot reaches a rolling boil, place the green onions into the water for no more than 60 seconds. Remove them and place them immediately in the ice water. After another 1-2 minutes have passed, remove them to a dry paper towel and set aside.
- Cut a piece of twine about 6” long; the twine is included with your wraps. Place the twine on a flat surface. Remove a Wildwood Grilling cedar wrap from the water, and place it on top of the twine. Arrange a slice of venison on the wrap. If needed, trim the outer edges of the venison so it aligns with the wrap’s outer edges.
- Place a few green onion sprigs on top of the side of the venison closest to you, then roll the venison tightly around the green onion. When the meat is fully rolled, use the wrap to encase it, and use the twine to tie it all up snugly. You can use your knife to cut the wrap down to size as needed.
- Place the wrapped roll in your oiled pan. Repeat this process until there’s no meat left.
- Put your loaded cast iron skillet into your pre-heated oven and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until the venison is medium-rare (roughly 140°F internal temperature).
- While the rolls are cooking, take some of the leftover mirin mixture, and simmer on low until it thickens. Add the remaining sugar to the sauce and mix well.
- Run a silicone spatula or wooden spoon along the bottom of the pot as the sauce cooks; when it takes a couple seconds for the sauce to pull back together after separating, you’re on the right track.
- When the rolls are ready, remove the pan from the oven. Remove the cedar wraps from the meat. Cut the rolls into bite-sized pieces. If you’d like more texture, you can put the cut rolls back in the pan with a little oil, and broil them in the oven or cook them on the stovetop over high heat until the outside is crispy.
- Pour the sauce over the top. Garnish with sesame seeds.
- Goes great with edamame and fleur de sel, and your leftover sake!
*Keep a spray bottle of water handy in case of flare-ups.