An herb related to the leek and onion, chives contribute a refined hit of onion flavor, and their green color adds lots of eye appeal. Mildly pungent chives are fantastic with starchy foods (think: baked potatoes but also rice, polenta, and couscous). Chives are also great with fish and shellfish, eggs, and many vegetables, especially tomatoes and corn.
They're not only easy to use and versatile, but they're also easy to grow and will return year after year. Chive flowers are also edible, with flavor slightly more pungent than the leaves, so if you grow your own, don't overlook this pretty way to garnish a dish. Or add them to salads by snipping or pinching the individual florets from the cluster.
Scallion greens can substitute for chives.
At the market, look for chives with fresh, turgid stems. It doesn't matter whether they're thin or thick, just that they aren't wan or droopy.
Sharp scissors are great for snipping chives. To prevent the snippets from scattering, cut them into a small, deep dish. If chopping chives on a cutting board, use a very sharp, thin-bladed knife so you don't bruise the tender leaves.
Wrap chives in a barely damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the fridge, where they'll keep for several days. Or stand them in a glass with an inch of water. You can keep them right on the counter for a couple of days.