6.03.2008

Chive blossom balsamic dresses up Orleans arugula

The pot of chives on the back porch was in full bloom yesterday morning when I stepped outside to sweep the pollen from the shaded planks of yellow wood. The pungent lavender petals dusted dusted my fingertips a grainy gold, and I snapped their stalks between my thumb and forefinger.

Trimming the flowers, my mother had told me that morning, would keep the onion from going to seed. Once cut, however, the blossoms were too pretty to throw away.

I remembered having once seen them on a salad, and set about looking through cookbooks and recipes. Turns out the edible blossoms are edible in just about any fashion, but are generally served raw as a garnish or used to flavor dressings or vinegar. I decided to embark on a dual experiment in salad dressing; using half of the petals for a spur of the moment oil and vinegar, and leaving the rest to infuse a bottle of white vinegar.

The salad dressing was a simple oil and balsamic. Tinged with mild onion, it was an excellent match for the bag of peppery Orleans arugula I had picked up at Phoenix Fruits earlier in the week.

As for the vinegar, I'll have to wait at least a month for the first taste. Until then, I'll simply admire the bobbing blossoms.

CHIVE BLOSSOM BALSAMIC

Cut 10 just opened chive blossoms. Separate florets and finely chop stems. Combine 1/2 cup oil with 1/8 to 1/4 cup dark balsamic vinegar. Add 1 tablespoon mustard; whisk well. Add salt and crushed black peppercorns to taste, and sprinkle in chive clippings and florets. Serve over arugula or other peppery spring greens.



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