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Chef Vanessa Miller’s Top 5 Go-To Summer Ingredients

Posted on Friday, Jun. 11, 2021

Summer ingredients have arrived and we are here for it. From brightly colored tomatoes bursting with flavor to fresh, straight-from-the-sea oysters, here are Chef Vanessa’s go-to Summer ingredients and her favorite ways to use them.

Summer Ingredient #1: Sweet Corn

Reason why you love it: As the heat rolls in, the starches in corn turn to sugars and my favorite summer ingredient is born. Its so versatile, eat it raw, eat it fried (corn ribs anyone?), eat it grilled – it holds up to any cooking method and all it needs to pop is some salt, some lemon juice, and a little bit of butter… because everything is better with butter.

How you use it: I love taking it off the cob and doing a quick corn sauté with whatever fresh herbs I have lying around.

Summer Ingredient #2: Summer Herbs

Reason why you love it: To me, there is nothing that brings brightness and herbaceous-ness to a dish like a handful of torn summer herbs. Basil, tarragon and parsley are my holy trinity.

How you use it: I like to tear my herbs and keep them in larger pieces instead of cutting them down until they’re unrecognizable. Throw handfuls into salads to add an extra layer of flavor, or into pasta dishes right before serving (heat will cause them to wilt and lose some of their brightness, so always add fresh herbs at the END of your cooking process).

Summer Ingredient #3: Sungold Tomatoes

Reason why you love it: All tomatoes are not created equal. Sungold’s color is true to their name, they are small, bright orange cherry tomatoes that just burst with sweet flavors.

How you use it: I like to simply slice in half, marinate in olive oil, salt, lemon juice and black pepper at room temperature for a few hours. Their natural juices will be drawn out and you’ll be left with a “no cook” fresh tomato sauce that goes great under fish or tossed in with pasta.

Summer Ingredient #4: Stone Fruit

Reason why you love it: I wait all winter for stone fruit to start coming in from California. Red plums and black cherries are personal favorites, but if its got a pit, I’ll eat it.

How you use it: Stone fruit goes GREAT with pork! I love grilling up some pork tenderloin, throwing some peaches on the grill and letting everything rest together , then I use the juices from the resting pork and peaches as a dipping sauce. With a salad of farm fresh kale, you’ve got a perfect summer meal.

Summer Ingredient #5: Oysters

Reason why you love it: Nothing tastes more quintessentially like summer to me than an ice cold oyster. Its like taking a big sip of ocean water without actually having to take a big sip of ocean water.

How you use it: I am an oyster purist. Give me a lot of lemon and a little bit of horseradish heavy cocktail sauce over some iced down oysters on the half shell and I am set.

So where can I find all these delicious ingredients? We work really closely with Foxtail Farms out of New Richmond, they have great farm fresh produce. Of course, Findlay Market this time of year is also full of local vendors, from throughout the Ohio Valley region, for all your summer produce needs, and Eckerlin Meats is my go-to for any and all meat needs.

And we’ve always got you covered with a menu featuring only the freshest and best ingredients of the season. Dine-in, or grab to-go with Feast. Come hang out with us on the Cocktail Terrace and enjoy rotating oyster specials while you soak up the sun and city views.

See our what’s on the menu at Metropole!