Chervil

Stir chervil in ham and cheese omelets. Use it in dressings for pasta or potato salads.

Chervil is an aromatic herb cultivated for its fragrant leaves which are used as garnish and flavoring. Its delicate aroma reminds of aniseed.

Curious facts about chervil

Some cooks speak of chervil as gourmet parsley. Chervil leaves are very similar to parsley leaves, but chervil leaves are more dented. Apparently, it originated in Southern Russia. Romans already knew and used chervil, and Plinii mentions it in his writings. The Romans introduced chervil into France, where it has been grown for centuries and it is one of its fines herbes.

How to identify chervil

Chervil is an annual plant, widely cultivated in south Europe and Asia, with small white flowers shaped in flat-topped clusters. They bear smooth oblong fruits.

How to use and store chervil

Chervil adds color and flavor to creamy sauces, herb butters or cream cheese. It also goes well with potatoes, carrots, Spanish menestras, or sautéed spring vegetables. Best added near the end of the cooking time.

Chervil is one of the French fines herbes along chives, parsley, and tarragon. It is grown mainly in the Mediterranean.

Cooking with chervil

Chervil enhances the flavor of other herbs.

Chervil scrambled eggs on toast: prepare scrambled eggs using butter and adding 1 Tbsp milk and 1 Tbsp finely chopped chervil. Serve on toasted buttered bread.

Cod stuffed crepes with chervil garnish: Soak 8 oz skinned and deboned salt cod in cold water for 24 hours, changing water 3 or 4 times. Heat 2 Tbs butter in a pan and sauté 2 leeks, washed and sliced. Add cod, chopped, 2 Tbs raisins, 2 Tbs pine kernels, and 1/2 cup light cream. Cook on a low heat until the mix thickens. Add 1 Tbs fresh chopped chervil, salt and pepper. Use this mixture to fill 8 crepes.

Chervil is one of the fines herbes used to flavor mayonnaise or add a sprig of chervil to your bouquet garni taking advantage of the flavor enhancing properties of this herb.

Bouquet garni

1 sprig parsley
1 sprig chervil
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 sprig thyme

Tie fresh herbs together with kitchen thread or put dried herbs into a small piece of cheesecloth and tie into bag form. Add to ingredients as directed in recipe. Remove before serving.

Chervil substitution - if a recipe calls for chervil and you don't have it, substitute 1 Tbs chopped fresh chervil leaves with:

  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon - more pronounced anisee flavor
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh fennel leaves
  • 1 Tbs chopped fresh fines herbes
  • 1 tsp dried chervil
  • 1 tsp dried fines herbes
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

The French fines herbes usually have equal parts of chervil, chives, parsley and tarragon.

Shrimp dressed with sauce and chervil served with a lemon wedge.

Shrimp salad with chervil