As a root vegetable and as an herb, chervil is particularly popular in German and French cuisine. Its sweet, fresh flavor forms part of the “fines herbes” herb mix.
Chervil as an Herb
The entire chervil plant is extremely aromatic. Its roots are an aromatic wild vegetable, while chervil stems are used to give soups a delicious, aniseed-like flavor. The most popular part of the plant, though, is its leaves: Their sweet fresh taste is reminiscent of anise and fennel. The distinct flavor of chervil forms part of the French “fines herbes” herb mix. Together with chives, parsley and tarragon, this fine cuisine classic is used to season fish, meat, salads, vegetables, sauces and soups. Chervil also adds a wonderful fresh flavor to dishes by itself.
Chervil is the perfect addition to egg dishes — it adds a delicious flavor to omelets and quiches. As well as yogurt recipes, salads and lamb dishes, its flavor is also perfect for fish, soups, hearty stews and herb butters. Chervil stems and roots are stable when exposed to heat and can be cooked for a long period of time without the flavor being impaired. Chervil leaves, on the other hand, should only be mixed into the dish shortly before serving or should be sprinkled over the finished dish, as they lose their flavor if exposed to a high heat. For optimal flavor, dried chervil leaves should be briefly soaked.
Peas seasoned with chervil are quick to prepare and taste exquisite. Try steaming or boiling the peas and tossing them in butter or mixing in bacon before adding the chervil for a delightful treat.
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The light green, delicate leaves on the chervil plant are serrated or notched at the edges and slightly hairy on their underside. These features help to distinguish chervil from parsley, a plant that it is often confused with as they are very similar in appearance. This extremely aromatic herb grows to up to 70 cm tall and is harvested before it flowers, so it is rarely available fresh from the fall onward. Like anise, dill and fennel, chervil belongs to the parsley family. Originally from the Middle East, today the annual plant is mainly grown in the Netherlands and the Balkans.
- Scientific Name
- Anthriscus cerefolium (L.) Hoffm.
- Parsley family (Apiaceae)
- Other Names
- Garden chervil, French parsley
- Middle East