The smallest and most delicate member of the onion family chives have a distinctive smell and taste which is due to a volatile oil, rich in sulphur that is found in members of this family.
Native to Asia, this herb with its long thin grass-like, hollow blades has been added to food for at least 5,000 years. Chives have a mild grassy flavour similar to baby leeks or young spring onions and were probably first used by the Chinese. The purple-blue sometimes pinkish flowers can also be eaten and make an attractive garnish, particularly on salads or platters.
Garlic chives, also known as Chinese chives, have a distinct garlic flavour and are popular in Asian cuisine.
Availability: At The Chef’s Garden chives are usually available in spring and summer.
Goes with: creamy sauces; cucumber; eggs; fish; potatoes; salads; soups and tomatoes.
SELECTION, PREPARATION, STORAGE & USING
Selection: Chives should have long slender blades with a uniform green colour.
Preparation: For the best flavour, snip chives with scissors, rather than chop with a knife. In most cases, add just before serving, as subjecting them to too much heat results in loss of flavour.
Storage: Keep in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container – will keep for 2-3 days.
Using: While commonly used snipped as a garnish, chives can be used in many other ways. Add snipped chives to cream cheese or butter and use as a spread on sandwiches. Snipped chives are a tasty addition to savoury muffins and loaves.
- Chive Mashed Potatoes: Give mashed potatoes a tangy, fresh flavour by adding freshly snipped chives. Cook potatoes in lightly salted water, drain, add hot milk, butter, snipped chives and freshly ground white pepper to taste. Mash and serve scattered with additional snipped chives.