So we grew up and found out that the fairy godmother was wrong. Plain orange pumpkins don’t turn into carriages. But some of Charleston’s chefs surely know how to turn them into something delicious. We called around to find out how they’re incorporating fall vegetables into their menus now that cool fall weather is finally here.
The puree of buckskin pumpkin soup ($11) at FIG is one of Manager Samantha Ewing’s favorites on the menu this month. “It’s got a great pumpkin flavor,” she says. “It’s not muddled in with a bunch of other vegetables.” A roasted pumpkin is cooked with onion and leek in a chicken stock and put through a chinois to give it a smooth, refined texture. They garnish it with a dollop of crème fraiche, olive oil, croutons, and radish and it’s ready to serve. Another seasonal appetizer is the shrimp escabeche ($13) with fall vegetables like butternut squash, red onion, and lipstick peppers marinated in olive oil, chardonnay vinegar, and herbs like fennel seeds, parsley, and caraway. “It’s a Spanish-inspired dish that all marries in flavor,” Ewing says.
The ever-changing menu at the Glass Onion will feature a duck leg and sausage link dish ($16) Friday night, which they’ll be serving with a sweet potato casserole. “It’s pretty basic since sweet potatoes are already so delicious,” co-owner Sarah O’Kelley says. It’s a blend of sweet potatoes, butter, cream, and honey topped with candied pecans. The sausage link, which they’ve named Belle’s Country Link, is a creation of co-owner Chris Stewart and is packaged for sale at the restaurant. O’Kelley says the sausage, as well as her apple cobbler, will be featured in several dishes throughout the month.
The menu at Extra Virgin Oven (EVO) also changes daily, but Chef Matt Russell says you can expect to see local acorn squash, chestnuts, and heirloom pumpkins in a variety of dishes throughout October. On Friday, they’re serving a pecan pesto pizza ($12-$14) topped with heirloom pumpkin, red onions, pulled pork, mozzarella, parmesan, and goat cheese from Split Creek Farm. But the first thing you should order according to Russell is the antipasto appetizer ($10), which has local pattypan squash, pickled beets, marinated tomatoes, blue cheese, and housemade crostini. “We’re excited about the fall season,” Russell says. “There’s a lot more local produce to come.”
At the Old Village Post House in Mt. Pleasant, Manager Katie Hajjar recommends the caramelized pear salad ($9). A half bosc pear is caramelized and brûléed in raw sugar, then mixed with baby lettuce, blue cheese, fresh pistachios, and a sherry honey vinaigrette. “It’s absolutely amazing,” Hajjar says. “We put it on our menu every fall because it’s just delicious.”
There’s always room for dessert in the fall, especially when it involves pumpkin. The pumpkin crème brûlée is a favorite for Graze co-owner Bradford Bobbit. It’s a custard-like dessert that they top with caramelized sugar and pumpkin garnishes. “We just love it,” he says.