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)
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!