Notable Nosh: Enoki Mushroom Beef Rolls

Enoki Beef Roll

Negimaki, or beef rolls, are fairly common on Japanese restaurant menus and there are many variations on the basic theme. I have had them stuffed with asparagus before,  and also with just scallions, but enoki mushrooms are also a favorite.

The rolls pictured above were served to me at Ken’s Japanese Restaurant in Ottawa not long ago and I thought I would share them with you, not because they were particularly special, but because I would like to experiment with the same idea sometime in the near future. Ken’s version was simply very thin slices of beef wrapped around some enoki mushrooms and a bit of scallion. They were not the prettiest I have ever seen by any means, nor plated especially well, but they were actually much tastier than they look.

The sauce was basically a soy-mirin composite, but it is clear that the chef used the mixture to de-glaze the pan used to fry the rolls as the rich, beefy flavor was clearly apparent. Beef sliced this thinly can be difficult to cook as just a few seconds too long in the pan can take the texture from tender and succulent to something like wet-cardboard in a heart-beat. Ken’s managed it just right, however and the result was very toothsome. My only real complaint, other than the presentation, was that the mushrooms were not of the highest quality. They were a bit stringy and the flavor (admittedly subtle at the best of times) was hard to discern. I am thinking that lightly poaching the mushrooms first in a nice stock would improve the result. In any event, I will be playing around with this basic idea in a future post so stay tuned…

 

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