Living through nine cold winters in New York, there were few happier moments than arriving at the green market in Union Square on a Saturday to find new green things after months of potatoes and cabbage. Green garlic scapes, green asparagus, leafy green Swiss chard and wild green ramps with purple middles, all jockeying for attention among the hundreds of us buyers who were shielding our eyes from the brilliant sun, so long since we had felt its warmth. One of my favorite finds were chive blossoms. These blossoms come on long chive or onion stems with their petals wrapped in crepe paper-thin husks, protecting their delicate flavor. They have a mild oniony flavor but are also a touch more herby and sweet.
I knew exactly where they were bound. Blended with almonds, parmesan cheese, good olive oil, salt and pepper, they make a subtlety flavored pesto which in turn can be tossed with hot pasta for a quick weeknight dinner or with cold pasta and veggies for a easy picnic dish. I am also partial to spreading this pesto on thin slices of good bread (think ciabatta), decorating them with a few strips of roasted red peppers and a drizzle of good olive oil and calling it a quick and easy appetizer for a dinner party.
How you use chive blossoms, keep your eyes peeled at the market. The season is mid-April through mid-May, and like so many of our spring produce, one day it’s here and the next day it’s gone.
Chive Blossom Pesto
Prep time: 5 minutes, cook time: 0 minutes; Serves 4
One bunch chive blossoms, about 4 oz
¼ cup raw almonds
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon good sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
¼ cup olive oil
In a food processor, pulse almonds until they are broken up and the size of small pebbles. Add chive blossoms with stems and pulse for another five seconds. Add cheese, salt and pepper and with food processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil just until combined with other ingredients.
Toss immediately with hot or cold pasta, or jar and keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.