Another Reason for Growing Chives

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Flowering Chives

When a large chive plant blossoms, its display of violet flowers is quite dramatic, as you can see in the photo taken on our east patio a couple of days ago. But besides looking pretty, the flowers are also edible. Pull the flower heads apart and you can add a delicate oniony flavor to soups, cream sauces, mashed potatoes, or scrambled eggs. You can also mix them with goat cheese for an attractive and chivy sandwich spread. Here’s a close-up of a chive flower.

chive flower close-up

And here’s a recipe:

Baby Green Salad with Chive Blossoms

When chives are allowed to flower, they produce purple blossoms that make a delicate onion-flavored addition to the salad. Garlic flowers and nasturtiums make good alternatives.1 1/2 teaspoons wasabi powder

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar mixed with a pinch of sugar
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh chives
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ice water
1 large egg yolk
1 cup chive flowers with 1 inch of stem attached (about 2 ounces)
6 cups baby greens
Freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, whisk the wasabi powder with the vinegar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of water. Whisk in the peanut oil until emulsified and season with salt. Stir in the minced chives.

Heat 3/4 inch of vegetable oil in a small saucepan. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, ice water and egg yolk; the batter will be a little lumpy. Working in batches, dip one-third of the chive flowers in the batter and add them to the oil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden and crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a rack to drain and season with salt. Repeat with the remaining chive flowers.

In a large bowl, toss the greens with the wasabi dressing. Season the salad with salt and pepper and mound on 4 plates. Top the salads with the fried chive blossoms and serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings