Chives and eggplant make a tasty combination
Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) is the smallest species of the onion family Alliaceae, native to Europe, Asia and North America. They grow in clumps rather than as individual plants. Its species name derives from the Greek word ‘skhoinos’ (sedge)and ‘prason’ (onion). Its English name, chive, derives from the French word ‘cive’, which was derived from ‘cepa’, being the Latin word for onion. A relatively new vegetable in the English-speaking world but well-known in Asian cuisine, the flavour of garlic chives is more like garlic than chives, though much milder.
Chives have a wide variety of culinary uses, such as in traditional dishes in France and Sweden. It is also an ingredient of the gräddfil sauce served with the traditional herring dish prepared for Swedish midsummer celebrations. Its leaves (straws) can be shredded and used as a condiment for fish, potatoes and soups. The flowers may also be used to garnish dishes. In China, they are often used to make dumplings with a combination of egg, shrimp and pork. The flowers may also be used as a spice.
Chives can be used to control high blood pressure. The whole plant has a beneficial effect on the digestive system and blood circulation. It improves appetite. They possess antibacterial properties and are used in Vietnam in the treatment of cough, sore throat, asthma, dysentery and dyspepsia. When added to the diet on a regular basis, they help reduce blood cholesterol levels, act as a tonic to the digestive and circulatory systems. The seed is used in the treatment of spermatorrhoea, haematuria, incontinence and lumbago.
Now, for a recipe.Eggplant Caponata with Chives
Eggplant: 1 large, peeled and
Olive oil: 2 tbsp
Onion: 1 medium, chopped
Garlic: 2 cloves, chopped
Celery: 2 ribs, chopped
Tomatoes: 2, chopped
Balsamic or red wine vinegar:
Chives: half cup, chopped
Method: Place chopped eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute onion in oil, stirring frequently, until golden for about eight minutes. Add chives, garlic and celery and saute for two minutes. Squeeze moisture from chopped eggplant and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until eggplant is tender for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Stir in tomatoes, vinegar and chives. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Junior Sous Chef