Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chives: The Herb of Spring

Chives!  There's some daffodils growing in
the middle of a clump that reseeded itself.
Works well!  Daffodils die down, chives keep on going.

In our house, we know it's spring when we can harvest the first chives.  Perhaps it is my Norwegian heritage that likes to put chives and fish together. Chives always make me think of smoked salmon on rye bread and lots of hot tea.  I'm only an eighth Norwegian, but it crops up out of nowhere sometimes. For me, chives signal spring foods like salads, peas, tender lettuces, and radishes.  There's a sense of throwing off the heavy, sustaining foods of winter and a deep longing for fresh flavors and lightness.

We have lots of chives because I never quite catch all the flower heads before they go to seed.  At this point, they are about six to eight inches high and the perfect size to harvest.  Here are some suggestions on how to use chives that are quick and easy.  I find I prefer to use them as a finishing touch as they don't hold up well to lots of cooking.
  • Sprinkle on scrambled eggs, fried eggs, really any eggs, just before they come out of the pan.
  • Whip chopped chives with cream cheese and/or yoghurt as a spread for bagels, especially with lox!
  • Mix chives with mayonnaise for a great herb mayo for sandwiches.  You can do small batches and keep it tightly sealed in the fridge for days.
  • Mix in chopped chives to egg salad, tuna salad, and hashes.
  • Toss with salad greens for a nice oniony zing or add to your homemade dressings as a finishing touch.
  • Include when cooking fish in paper along with olive oil, capers, and slices of lemon and lime.
What are some of your favorite ways to use chives?

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