As light as the flavors of summer are supposed to be, they more than often are not.

Graduation parties, barbeques, even Father’s Day dinners specialize in salads laden with mayonnaise, meats charred from the grill and saucy sops that top them.

Tasty? Of course. But if it’s a fresh, light flavor you’re seeking, then these popular summer favorites rarely measure up.

And even though the season’s best produce is still in an adolescent stage, there are a few fresh flavors now in season.

Chive is one of them. This hardy herb pops up when there is still frost on the ground and will continue to bush out in thick green blades until the following autumn’s frost absorbs what’s left. If you plant it once, you’ll never have to plant it again. It’s resolute, unyielding.

In fact, at times, you may have to scale your chives back so that they don’t overwhelm your garden.

And it tastes like summer—and it will make any recipe that hoists it into the forefront emit that evocative flavor of the season.

Take, for instance, this recipe for chive and cucumber tea sandwiches.

A traditionally mild finger food, cucumber sandwiches are already light and fresh; but intertwine a handful of fresh chives from the garden and suddenly that fresh flavor factor gets revved up.

As an update to the traditional tea sandwich recipe, try working in a few higher quality ingredients.

Instead of cream cheese, this butter-blend features mascarpone, which yields a lighter flavor.

And instead of the tiny bread squares that come in a package at the grocery store, use a very thinly sliced brioche.

Assembly is the fun part. A regular tea sandwich will have the triangular shape, but using a round cookie cutter on the brioche, spreading the buttery blend of chives on top, and then finishing with a slice of cucumber has more of an eye-catching effect.

If you’re amping up your menu, add a smattering of smoked salmon on the peak of each sandwich.

Fresh with one of the season’s earliest flavors, these sandwiches no longer become an afternoon tea specialty.

Now, they’re party food—perfect for graduations, barbeques, and yes, even Father’s Day.