Chives: The First Herbs of Spring

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Spring Chives
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I learned a lot at the Herbal Forum I spoke at in Round Top, and the most important thing was to pay more attention to herbs, especially different varieties of the herbs we use the most–basil, oregano, chives, thyme, parsley, and mint. Above, I don’t know how old this chive plant is, but it’s the first herb to “bust out” in our garden, and this photo was shot this morning. I love this chive quote from Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer: “A last-minute sprinkling of chives invigorates anything they touch with their fresh fragrance, not to mention what they do to jazz up the color on the plate. Late spring finds us cooking delicate dishes like creamy potatoes with handfuls of chopped chives stirred in just before serving. We layer on the flavor in spring onions braised in butter, then showered with lots of minced chives. And our vinaigrette couldn’t be simpler: just really good olive oil, a splash of white wine vinegar, a tiny crescent of garlic, and (of course) a ton of chives. We pull apart the blossoms into lavender confetti and toss them in salads, a touch that’s as decorative as it is flavor-enhancing. Once we get a taste for chives, we have to remind ourselves to use the other herbs in our balcony box.” Here’s a simple and excellent recipe to use up some of those chives.

Spicy Chive Vinaigrette

lemon-chive-vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Serve over fresh greens or your favorite salad.
Yield: 2 servings
Heat Scale: Mild