If you didn’t know already, the answer to yesterday’s mystery ingredient is Garlic Chives. They differ from chives and scallions in that they have flat (not hollow!) leaves, have a much milder/less oniony/more garlicky/sweeter flavor, and are almost always cooked before eating, unlike scallions and chives which are usually served raw. They are somewhat similar to ramps at least in appearance, but I’ve never actually had a ramp before so I don’t know how the flavor compares.
Garlic Chives occasionally send up a stalk with a flower on it. This stalk might be the most delicious part of the plant. The flavor is much more mild, sweet, yet savory. A favorite preparation of mine is just to saute some bacon until crisp, add some garlic, and then stir fry the garlic chives until just slightly softened and brilliant green. They are beautiful and delicious. The stalk needs to be trimmed though, just like asparagus, since the bottom of the stem tends to be woody. Trim it like asparagus, by bending near the bottom and snapping the tough parts off.
Garlic chives in general need animal protein/fat to maximize its deliciousness potential. They are amazing in dumplings, as the fatty ground meat melds well with the sweet savoriness of the garlic chives. Another simple recipe is this simple garlic chive and egg frittata/omelet/cakes/whatever you want to call it. Chives and egg has always been a delicious combination, and this to me is a spin on that classic.
Garlic Chive and Egg “Pancakes”
- 1 cup minced garlic chives
- 3 eggs, beaten
- Salt to taste (Go easy on the salt, as I’ve found that it’s way too easy to oversalt eggs. Between 1/4 and 1/2 tsp should be more than sufficient)
- Oil, for greasing
- Place the garlic chives in a bowl and add egg while stirring until mixture reaches desired consistency. I usually like mine to be garlic chives that are just barely bound by the egg into a cohesive mass, but you may want yours to be more fluid. Experiment away, it will be delicious no matter what.
- Add salt and stir thoroughly to incorporate.
- Heat a nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat and add 1 tbs oil. When pan is hot, add mixture, shaping it however you would like (one large pancake/pie, smaller individual pancakes, etc). Fry until the bottom starts to brown, and then flip and fry the other side. Don’t worry if some of the egg slips off when you flip it/if it breaks etc. Our end goal here is just to get the egg set with a little bit of caramelization from the Maillard reaction. Do it in batches and add oil if necessary.
- When both sides are lightly browned, remove, cut into desired shapes (or not), and serve! I like to eat mine with plain rice (maybe with some Sriracha on top?). It would go really well in a sandwich too. It’s a great, balanced meal with plenty of veggies and healthy proteins/omega 3s from the eggs and is relatively low fat as well.
Be warned though, garlic chives have a similar reputation to garlic! They can make your breath not so nice. Don’t eat them right before you go on a date, or make sure that both you and your date eat them (perhaps cook for them? :D). Might as well all be miserable together, haha.