1 of 14
Fresh alliums are among the sweetest harbingers of spring. A far cry from papery storage varieties, these succulent just-plucked aromatics deserve a starring role at the table.
The tiniest member of the onion family, chives are easy to cultivate. Don’t dig up the whole plant; treat it as a cut-and-come-again crop, snipping some of the greens and flowers -- both are edible -- when needed.
2 of 14
Serve this spring pasta as a light lunch with a salad or an elegant appetizer. It showcases the chives’ mellow flavor and edible purple blossoms and is finished with a crumble of hard-cooked egg. Whitefish caviar, an inexpensive roe from the Great Lakes, provides a salty pop.Get the Capellini with Chive Blossoms and Creme Fraiche Recipe
3 of 14
Less pungent in flavor than the familiar mature bulb, fresh garlic has just split into individual paper-wrapped cloves. Even younger green garlic is used in its entirety, like scallions.
Watch our How to Cook videos to learn the best ways to prepare this essential ingredient.
4 of 14
Garlic ScapesFor garlic to produce the cloves we all know and love, the flower buds, or scapes, must be removed in early spring. Snakelike in appearance, they are slightly spicy and have become a springtime delicacy.
5 of 14In this dish, two forms of garlic are cooked two ways: Fresh garlic, which has formed a bulb, is roasted, which brings out the natural sugars; and green garlic, which has no bulb yet, is sauteed, further mellowing its already mild flavor. Pureed spinach and yogurt give the soup a velvety texture. Get the Garlic and Spinach Soup Recipe
6 of 14
LeeksLeeks are an elegant and delicately flavored cousin of the onion. While growing, they are mounded with soil to keep their stems white and tender. Wash them carefully since the soil often gets caught between the plant's many layers.
7 of 14Delectably rich, warm, and woodsy, this springtime gratin combines heavy cream with leeks, potatoes, green garlic, and earthy morels for a hearty meal. The zest of half a lemon grated on top of the gratin just before serving adds a hit of unexpected brightness to the dish. Get the Leek, Potato, and Morel Gratin Recipe
8 of 14
Cipollini OnionsMeaning "little onions" in Italian, cipollinis are small in size but big in taste. They come in red and white varieties, both of which are deliciously sweet. When roasted whole, they will melt in your mouth.
10 of 14Slow roasting red and white cipollini onions, shallots, and cherry tomatoes in olive oil at a low temperature intensifies their inherent sweetness. Soft, sticky, and almost spreadable, the confit will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. Serve it alongside grilled meats, or toss it with pasta. Get the Onion and Shallot Confit Recipe
11 of 14
When purchasing fresh onions, look for vibrant, sturdy green tops, avoiding any that are limp, discolored, or slimy. Because they contain higher water content than storage varieties, they won’t keep long, so store them in the refrigerator and use them within a few days.
12 of 14This healthy meal is loaded with flavor. Thinly sliced fresh onions, fennel, cilantro, and pea shoots are lightly seasoned with white balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The crisp, sweet salad provides a nice counterpoint to the rich, roasted fillet of wild salmon and tart tomatoes. Get the Pan-Roasted Salmon with Fresh Onion and Fennel Salad Recipe
13 of 14
Spring OnionsPulled from the ground before the bulbs have had a chance to form, spring onions can be used like scallions, as a zesty garnish for soups and salads.
14 of 14Asparagus and spring onions are typically harvested around the same time, so it makes sense that their flavors work well together. Here, the vegetables are pickled, creating a tangy addition to cheese toast. The onions also work in cocktails such as the classic Gibson. Get the Pickled Spring Onions and Asparagus Recipe
You Just Viewed
The Early OnionReplay
- Studio Visit: Purl Soho
- Decorate with Brass
- Board Games: Kevin Sharkey's Cheeseboard Picks
- A Blueprint for Color
- Our Food Editors' Food Resolutions
- The Barest Simmer
- Home Decor Inspired by Color
- From the Shar-chives: Kevin Sharkey’s Most Beloved Valentine’s Day Ideas
- Brass Jewelry Projects: All That Glitters Is Not Gold
- A Woodworking Couple's Labor of Love
- Healthy and Delicious: Cooking with Whole Grains
- New Year's Heave: Our 2014 Organizing Resolutions
- Make-Ahead Office Lunch: Five Days, Five Ways
- Real Page-Turners: Our Favorite Bookshelf Organizing Ideas
- All Scooped Up: The 10 Best Ways to Eat Ice Cream in Winter