I have a question about the recipe "Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Garlic Croutons" from Merrill Stubbs. can I split the recipe in two? do the stove top in the am or night before and finish afterwards?
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AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
I would not cook the Brussels sprouts until the last possible moment (30 - 45 minutes before serving). I know that some people say you can roast them the day before a big event like Thanksgiving, but I find that their cabbage-y quality intensifies mightily, giving them a strong somewhat unpleasant taste, when cooked in advance. The croutons would get soggy, too, if pan fried well in advance and kept with the other ingredients.
That said, you can do everything up to the point where the croutons would be added. You can set aside the sauteed aromatics + pancetta, refrigerating tightly covered. After taking those out, I'd add a bit more oil to the pan and heat it gently, and then scrape all those bits into the container.
The next day, pick up where you left off; again, plan to add a bit more oil, to replace what you left in the pan and in the container.
Finally, you can prep the Brusslies in advance -- 3 or 4 days, in fact, if you follow this suggestion: I like to brine mine to keep them perky when prepping more than an hour or so before cooking. I put a big pinch of kosher salt into about a cup of warm water, swish it around and let it sit for a few minutes. Then I add a bit of cold water, and the trimmed Brusslies. They go into the fridge until I'm ready to use. I drain them in a colander which I shake well, and then I pat them a bit with a tea towel, just to reduce the spattering.
I read about brining Brusslies years ago in the 1941 Joy of Cooking. It's a far superior method to blanching because you don't end up overcooking the outside leaves. They stay bright green when cooked.
I hope this helps! ;o)
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