Chive blossoms are one of those spring specialties I spend the entire rest of the year looking forward to finding at the farmer’s market or in a friend’s garden. The round, puffed clusters of delicate lavender blossoms nodding at the ends of comically long thin stems like cartoon flowers are almost their own reward just for their goofy beauty….but then there’s the flavor. Delicately onion-like, a little floral, just garden perfection. Chive blossoms are like nothing else, and that’s reason enough to look forward to them all year. 

I always make chive blossom-steeped vinegar and sprinkle the little lavender blooms on my salads, but a tartine of chive blossom compound butter with a thin layer of another spring favorite, juicy fresh radish slices, is my absolute favorite way to consume this treat. A tartine is nothing more than a slice of good bread all gussied up French-style, with something delicious spread on it—it doesn't need to be anything more than that, and this chive blossom butter is certainly excellent on its own. But the addition of thinly sliced radishes at the peak of their spring perfection, adds an element of crunch and faintly peppery bite that really completes this humble little snack in an elegant way.

Tartine of Chive Blossom Basil Butter & Radishes

Makes 4 oz. of compound butter

1 stick (4 oz.) good quality unsalted or cultured butter
10 chive blossom heads (large purple clusters of tiny blossoms)
1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Rustic loaf of bread, sliced
Thinly sliced radishes (use your sharpest knife and try for translucent slices)

Let butter soften to room temperature in a bowl. Carefully rinse chive blossom heads and shake loose any garden grit, then gently blot them dry. Remove the tiny blossoms from the head and sprinkle them over the butter along with the basil, folding them in with a spoon or spatula as you do. Add honey, salt and pepper, check taste and adjust as needed. Extra compound butter can be re-formed into a stick shape, twisted up tightly in plastic wrap and saved in the refrigerator for easy slicing (use within a week for the best results).

To assemble, spread chive blossom butter on a slice of rustic bread, arrange as many thinly sliced radishes as you like on top, and maybe a tiny sprig of basil for color. Here’s to spring!


Greens. They're what's for dinner. 

Seriously, like every day. Ever since my household joined a local CSA last month, our weekly box has been overflowing with tender baby lettuces, kale, turnip and beet greens, darling baby onions and green garlic, and a whole bunch of other little spring treasures. While I don't think of salad as the only way to use up extra foliage in the kitchen (I have been known to cram greens into just about anything, including chopped fresh herbs in everything from bread to soup, kale in meatballs, and anything leafy into imaginative and highly-subjective 'pesto'), it's certainly a good one. This recipe is particularly great, showcasing not only the tender salad greens that are so prevalent right now, but also another standout of the late winter/early spring season......citrus. Paired with perfectly ripe avocado slices and a handful of crumbly, satisfactorily salty cotija cheese, this humble salad can easily be elevated to entree status.

Citrus Salad with Baby Lettuce, Cotija & Avocado

Makes two servings

3 loosely packed cups of baby greens (or your lettuce of choice)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon of fresh orange zest (grate from whole blood oranges before slicing)
salt & pepper
1/4 cup chopped scallions
1/2 cup sliced radishes
1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
blood orange slices, peel & pith sliced away
cotija cheese, crumbled

Wash and dry your greens, tear them into bite sized pieces and set aside. 

In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey and orange zest. Add salt & pepper to taste. Place greens in bowl with vinaigrette and toss to cover. Add scallions and radishes to salad and toss gently to combine. 

Divide salad onto two plates, top with sliced avocados and blood oranges. Garnish with crumbled cotija cheese to taste. Enjoy!