Chervil is a mild, aromatic herb used to season a variety of savory French dishes. Learn more on how to use chervil in the kitchen.
What is chervil?
Chervil is an herb from the Anthriscus Cerefolium plant, which belongs to the carrot family and is used extensively in French cuisine. Chervil is often called “French parsley”. The name chervil comes from a Greek word meaning “leaves of happiness”, and is sometimes referred to as the “happy herb”.
Chervil leaves are similar to that of parsley, but are more delicate and thinner in appearance. Chervil has its origins in the Caucasus, but today chervil grows all year round throughout Europe and America. Interestingly, chervil has been used in traditional medicine for centuries due to its multipurpose health benefits.
Chervil uses in the culinary world are equally appreciated, where it’s leveraged to bring a fine, refreshing, and aromatic flavor into savory recipes.
Flavor of chervil
Chervil offers a light refreshing flavor similar to parsley and tarragon with a light note of anise. Chervil is considered a rather fine and subtly flavored herb as compared to its counterparts including parsley, coriander, and tarragon.
Uses of chervil
Chervil is used to flavor a variety of savory foods including soups, sauces, vegetables, eggs, omelet, fish, chicken, and beef. Chervil is an important herb of the French fines herbes, the four traditional French herbs including parsley, tarragon, and chives that are chopped and combined in equal parts. Fines herbes are used to season delicate dishes having a short cooking time to preserve the aroma and flavor of the herbs.
Béarnaise sauce uses chervil as an important ingredient alongside butter, wine vinegar, egg yolks, and spices. This mouthwatering sauce pairs well with almost all food, and an integral component of the French national dish: steak-frites (grilled steak topped with Béarnaise sauce, and served alongside french fries).
Due to its delicate flavor, chervil is typically added to recipes at the last moment to fully highlight the refreshing aroma of the herb, without being overpowered by other ingredients. When shopping for chervil, make sure to pick out a fresh bunch without flowers to prevent bitterness in your chervil recipes.
Chervil is widely used to garnish savory dishes like fish dishes, soups, and stews. Freshly chopped chervil can be added to salads to enhance the flavor and reap the many health benefits of this happy herb.