If you don’t follow David Santori, aka “Frenchie and the Yankee” or @frenchieyankee, you’re missing out on some of the most vivid travel and food photography coming from a Charlotte feed. Consultant by day and food blogger by night, David shares his French expat perspective on Charlotte and other adventures.
I met David for coffee to ask him to create a cozy fall recipe for the Agenda — one we could actually handle — and we talked for an hour and a half about travel (we share a new love for India), his photography and random Instagram phenomena.
Try this recipe, impress your friends. You don’t even have to give us credit.
Roasted pumpkin and shallot soup
with walnut and spinach pesto croutons
Making the pesto
1 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
4 tablespoons grated Gruyère
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup olive oil
To make the pesto, add the spinach, walnuts, garlic, Gruyère and sea salt in the bowl of a small food processor. Process until chopped in small pieces. Slowly add the olive oil, drizzling, until the ingredients come together into a smooth rich green pesto.
Make the pesto ahead of time, up to two days. Store in the fridge.
Making the croutons
approx. half a batch of pesto
2 thick slices of crusty country bread, diced and cubed
Preheat the over to 375°F. In a small bowl, toss the bread cubes with the pesto. Spread the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes until crispy.
If the bread is on the doughy side and the bread cubes are large, you might need to bake them longer. Set aside.
Making the soup
1 sugar or pie pumpkin (4 pounds, yielding 2 pounds of pumpkin flesh once peeled), chopped
8 large shallots, peeled and sliced
1 medium leek, sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3.5 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ras el hanout (you can buy this North African spice blend at the Savory Spice Shop on South Boulevard in South End)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 cup coconut milk
1 organic lemon, zested
Keep the oven at 375°F. In a large bowl, toss together the pumpkin, shallots, leek, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with extra olive oil. Transfer the vegetables on the baking sheet and spread on the foil.
Roast for 35-40 minutes or until the shallots start to brown.
Scoop the roasted vegetables in a large pot. Add the vegetable broth, ras el hanout, and cumin. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce to medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Puree the soup with a hand-held blender or in a blender directly. Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning (spices and salt) if needed.
Serve the soup with the lemon zest, croutons, and a sprinkle of sea salt and pepper.
All photos by David Santori, courtesy of Frenchie and the Yankee.