In culinary terms, chives are really classed
as a herb, but as members of the onion family they are worth mentioning
here. As anyone who has grown them knows, chives are tufts of aromatic
grass with pretty pale lilac flowers, which are also edible.
Preparing and Serving : Chives are
often snipped with scissors and added to egg dishes, or used as a
garnish for salads and soups, adding a pleasant but faint onion flavor.
Along with parsley, tarragon and chervil, they are an essential
ingredient of fine herbs. Chives are also a delicious addition to soft
chesses - far nicer than commercially bought cheeses, where the flavor
of chives virtually disappears. Stir also into soft butter for an
alternative to garlic butter. This can then be spread on to bread and
baked like garlic bread. If adding to cooked dishes, cook only very
briefly, otherwise their flavor will be lost.
Chinese Chives : Chinese chives,
sometimes called garlic chives, have a delicate garlic flavor, and if
you see them for sale in your local Chinese supermarket, they are worth
buying as they add a delicate onion flavor to stir-fries and other
Preparing and Serving : Use them as
you would chives - both the green and white parts are edible. They are
also deliciously served on their own as a vegetable accompaniment.
Buying and Storing : For both types
of chives, look for plump, uniformly green specimens with no brown spots
or signs of wilting. They can be stored for up to a week in the fridge.
Unopened flowers of Chinese chives are an indication that the plant is
young and therefore more tender than one with fully opened flowers.