Chives have a fresh, oniony flavor. When thinking about chives most people concentrate on the foliage (which look like grass blades). However, every part of the chive plant is edible, and you can use the bulb like a mild onion in a pinch.

The foliage can be added to dumpling or biscuit dough to give the flavor without pre-cooking, as you would have to do with shallots or onions. While chives are in the same family as garlic and onions, they are sometimes added to the same recipes as those plants to provide a different nuance of flavor.

The classic pairing of chives with sour cream as toppers for baked potatoes is classic for a reason. If you want a variation on this, add sour cream and chives next time you make mashed potatoes. A cup of sour cream and a quarter cup of minced chive leaves should do for a five pound bag of potatoes. You can substitute Greek-style yogurt for the sour cream if you want to reduce fat.

Irish-style potato pancakes (boxty) are made with a combination of leftover mashed potatoes and shredded fresh potatoes. Start with equal amounts of mashed and shredded potatoes. Add an amount of white flour equal to the amount of one of the potatoes, and a slightly smaller amount of milk. If you wish, you can add an egg and a little baking powder. Season with salt and chopped chives. You can make your boxty either the size of the pan and cut into slices, or you can drop quarter cups of batter onto a griddle and cook as you would any other pancake.

Image Image
Image Image
Image Image

Chives also make an excellent garnish on potato soup, and a nice addition to frittatas. They are a quick onion option for scrambled eggs, and add a nice texture to omelets.

Spoon bread (a southern side dish made with cornmeal) goes to a whole new level when you include bacon, cheddar cheese and snipped chives in the batter.

Image Image
Image Image

The flavor of chives goes well with fish. Snipped chives can be mixed with sour cream to make an easy sauce to serve with salmon or haddock.

The peppery petals of chives flowers can be added to egg and cheese dishes, where they lend a nice touch of color. Both the stems and flowers of chives make tasty, colorful additions to salads.

You can gather up half a jar worth of purple chive blossoms and submerge them in regular distilled vinegar. The vinegar in the jar will turn a lovely shade of pink over the next two weeks (during which time the jar should sit in a cool, dark place. Then you strain out the flowers. The onion-scented vinegar is then perfect for making vinaigrettes. Alternately, snipped chives can be added to vinegar and oil as part of the herb mixture for a salad dressing.

In French cooking aioli (a sauce made by pounding together garlic, olive oil, and (sometimes) egg; sometimes called "the butter of Provence") can have any number of flavoring ingredients added to it. Chives are a popular option.

Garlic chives, an intensely flavored variety in the chive family, are flat, rather than hollow. They have such a garlicky taste that you can actually substitute them for garlic cloves in recipes. They are traditionally included in many Chinese soups and stews, as well as meat marinades. They are also an authentic choice for dumpling filling, especially when mixed with ground pork or chicken, and are sometimes used to make a pancake similar to a scallion pancake .

Try some of these ideas, and they may spark some recipe adaptations of your own. Once you get used to using chives, you will find yourself snipping them into anything that can benefit from a touch of oniony flavor.

NOTE: Use your chives fresh. They tend to loose most of their flavor when dried.