Chef Matt Bell’s Top 5 Summer Ingredients

We are in the full swing of summer, so we thought we should share Chef Matt Bell’s favorite summer ingredients so you can get creative in the kitchen while these ingredients are at their best.



Summer Ingredient #1:  Zephyr

Reason why you love it: I love the versatility of squash. Zephyr has such a fresh and slightly nutty flavor. It pairs so well with other summer favorites.

How you use it: I love it thin sliced and dressed with lemon, olive oil and herbs. I also love squash casserole with creme fraiche and thyme. Then baked and topped with ritz crackers. Check out my recipe here.

Summer Ingredient #2:  Pole beans

Reason why you love it:  It’s the Romano beans for me. With such variety, there are so many to love.

How you use it:  I like to lightly sauté them and finish with a little butter and finish them with some wine vinegar.

Summer Ingredient #3:  Okra

Reason why you love it:  Unpopular opinion. I like the slime.

How you use it:  I am a huge fan of boiled okra. If you are not a fan of the slime, it is great to half them and grill them and toss with a little lemon and olive oil.

Summer Ingredient #4:  Corn

Reason why you love it:  Growing up in Montana this was a real sign of summer. It will be forever linked to my childhood.

How you use it:  Grilled, pan fried, or steamed, I do it all. My favorite has to be creamed corn though. I use a simple cheese grater to grate the corn right off the cob. Slowly simmer the corn mixture, add salt and pepper, and finish with a little cream and butter.

Summer Ingredient #5: Cucumbers

Reason why you love it:  I have a thing for pickles.

How you use it:  I love to make pickles. Dill, bread and butter, half-sour. I don’t even know if I could pick a favorite. If I’m not making pickles, I will always be a fan of a cucumber sandwich. Dill, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and thin-sliced cucumber on white bread. Don’t forget the duke’s mayo either.

So where can I find all these delicious ingredients?

We love working with our local farmers from Greener Roots and Caney Fork. If you are looking to pick up some of these summer treats, we love the East Nashville Farmers Market or the Richland Farmers Market.

And we’ve always got you covered with a menu featuring only the freshest and best ingredients of the season. Dine-in, with us See our what’s on the menu at Gray & Dudley, or make your reservation here.

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