Have you heard of Chervil? Not everyone has. If you walked into a grocery store and peeked into the herb aisle, you might mistake it for parsley or even cilantro.
This is not surprising, especially if you live in the United States, as Chervil is more often used in French Cuisine.
Let’s take a deep dive into what Chervil is so that next time you get to the grocery store, you can pick it out from parsley or cilantro with ease.
What is Chervil?
Chervil is often used in French cooking now but originally used in Greece in ancient times. Initially, it was used for medicinal purposes.
The full name for Chervil is Anthriscus Cerefolium – more commonly referred to as French Parsley.
This green, leafy herb is very similar looking to parsley, so it can be easy to confuse the two.
They are related to each other, but Chervil has a slightly different taste and slightly different appearance.
On top of that, parsley is more often used in Italian cooking, whereas Chervil is used in French cooking.
Surprisingly, Chervil started out in the Caucasus, which is a region in Europe near Asia.
With the amount used in French Cuisine, it’s surprising it was not created in France.
Of course, you are probably wondering what Chervil tastes like by now. Let’s explore the taste a bit.
What does Chervil taste like?
Chervil has a very light taste, with flavors of licorice dancing through.
The taste is almost always described as delicate. It is also said to have a similar taste to Anise.
Of course, since it is related to parsley, the flavor is most often compared to this herb.
This herb pairs well with dishes that do not have overpowering flavors – think light fishes or sauces.
Well, what if you purchase some Chervil but can’t use it before it goes bad?
Can Chervil be dried?
Yes, you can dry Chervil to be used later. You’ll need to dry Chervil in an oven or something that can dry it quickly. As the flavor is very subtle, more prolonged drying allows the flavor to fade.
Chervil tastes best when used fresh – from a store, supermarket, or garden.
It is recommended to use this herb fresh as often as possible and avoid preserving it unless necessary.
Let’s jump into how to use Chervil so you can make sure it’s used in its freshest form.
How is Chervil used in cooking?
Chervil is often either combined with what is known as the fines herbes which also includes tarragon, chives, and parsley, or used on its own for cooking.
The entire stalk of Chervil can be used for cooking, not just the leaves. Again, another similarity with parsley.
This herb works beautifully in sauces like bearnaise and creamy soups.
It also works well on top of fish, chicken, or potatoes in the form of a rub. So, where can you find this lovely herb?
Where to buy fresh Chervil?
Although it may be a bit more challenging to find Chervil than its cousin Parsley, it’s not impossible.
Try visiting markets or stores that have a wider variety of fresh herbs, like Whole Foods Market.
Another great option is checking out your local farmer’s market – especially if you live near one that offers many different types of fresh herbs.
If both of these options don’t yield results, you can purchase either a Chervil plant online or some seeds so you can grow your Chervil.
There’s no fresher source than straight from your garden! Okay, but what goes into growing a Chervil plant?
How to grow Chervil?
Start by purchasing seeds or a Chervil plant, as mentioned above. You can buy these online or at a nearby gardening center/shop.
Chervil is a plant that doesn’t like too much sun or too much heat so make sure to plant it in a shady spot that stays cool during the day.
This plant does not like being shifted from container to container.
If you purchase seeds, it will be easier to grow these. If you are buying a plant that has already started growing, it’s advised that you keep the plant in its original pot.
Make sure to keep the soil damp for the seeds and Chervil plants. It will take about 14 days for the seeds to sprout – and that’s it!
You’re on your way to growing your Chervil plant.
Those who don’t have a green thumb or still can’t find a good source for Chervil have no fear; some substitutes can be used during cooking to offer a similar taste.
What is a substitute for Chervil?
There are a few options for substitutions of Chervil – of course, the flavor will be slightly different with these substitutions.
However, these herbs tend to be more readily available and easier to the source.
The first herb you can use as a substitute is parsley – this will be the most similar substitute since it is related to Chervil.
A few other options include dill, tarragon, and fennel leaves.
Although they may have a different taste, they will all add a lovely freshness to whatever dish these herbs are included in.
You may be wondering what food specifically pairs well with Chervil; take a look below for some ideas.
What food goes well with Chervil?
Chervil goes best with foods that do not have overpowering flavors, as mentioned above. Aim for adding this herb to dishes like potatoes, chicken, white fish, or even omelets/eggs.
This herb is also perfect for adding to fresh green salads.
It will give an added peppery flavor that is unexpected and delicious.
You want this delightful herb to be able to stand out from the natural flavor of the foods.
Avoid adding this herb to foods such as heavy meats – lamb, beef, pork – the flavor will be lost to the natural meat flavor that these foods possess.
After cooking a dish with Chervil, do you still have too much leftover? Here are some tips to keep
Preserving and Storing Chervil:
The first option for storing Chervil and keeping it fresh longer is by getting a container and filling it slightly with water – about one inch.
Take your Chervil and add it to the glass, then gently wrap moist paper towels around the herb and place it in the refrigerator. It should last for a few days in the fridge.
You can also dry the Chervil. Check above for more details on this.
Dried Chervil lasts about one year – perfect for if you want to use it little by little. Well, what about freezing this herb?
Can you freeze Chervil?
Yes, you can freeze Chervil. If you want to keep Chervil good for longer than a few days, you can freeze it as well.
Grab an ice cube tray and add stock or oil with the herb before freezing.
You can use the frozen stock for soups or sauces and the frozen oil cubes for pan-frying chicken or fish.
Freezing in an ice cube tray also allows you to choose how much you want to defrost at a time.
You can grab one ice cube, a few ice cubes, or the whole tray if you’re making food for a large group of people.
Is Chervil good dried?
Of course, as mentioned above, Chervil is best eaten fresh. Eating dried Chervil will alter the flavor slightly and will make the subtle flavor even more subtle.
You’ll still be able to taste the herb in dishes; it just won’t be as vibrant or strong of a flavor.
This method of preservation is great if you can’t get through a bunch of Chervil within a few days.
Now that you know all about Chervil let’s look at some yummy recipes that you can use Chervil for cooking at home.
Best Recipes Using Chervil
Chervil Soup With Meatballs
This easy Chervil soup with meatballs recipe is a delicious comfort food recipe that will have you craving more.
You’ll only need a few ingredients for this meal – beef stock, onion, olive oil, fresh Chervil, white rice, ground beef, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cloves, and one egg.
This recipe should only take about 25 minutes from start to finish. You’ll be left with a yummy dish.
This recipe is an excellent way to use Chervil if you have previously frozen it in stock. Swap out some of the beef stock and fresh herb, depending on how many frozen cubes you have.
Roasted Halibut With Chervil Sauce
This roasted halibut with chervil sauce recipe is a great way to incorporate Chervil into a dish.
The sauce is paired with a delightful white fish, so you can really taste the herb, and it’s not overpowered.
This simple recipe will leave you and your family wanting to find other recipes to use with Chervil because of the delicate flavor it adds to the fish.
The best part is this meal is cooked in about 30 minutes – so it’s a fairly quick recipe to follow.
Roast some potatoes or cook some white rice on the side for a more filling meal.
Couscous With Asparagus Chervil And White Wine
If you’re looking for a dish that feels more elevated and like you ordered it at a restaurant – this is the perfect meal for you.
The couscous provides an excellent base for this recipe – again allowing the Chervil to shine through.
This couscous with asparagus, Chervil, and white wine dish is similar to a risotto with couscous instead of rice.
Couscous cooks much more quickly than rice, so this is a great way to create a creamy, herby, delicious dish that is filling and fast. Give it a whirl for your next date night dinner.
Try adding some mozzarella on top of the Pecorino for an even more melty and delicious dish. The mozzarella has a subtle flavor so that it won’t take away from the Chervil taste.
Sea Scallops With Sugar Snap Peas And Chervil
Scallops have to be one of the most delicious seafood items. This sea scallop with sugar snap peas and Chervil recipe provides a delightful meal with a light seafood taste, freshness from the snap peas, and a slightly herby taste from the Chervil.
This recipe is another quick and easy dish that can be made in a pinch for dinner during the week.
It takes only about 25 minutes to cook, and you’ll only need about ten ingredients.
You can substitute parsley in this dish if you can’t find any Chervil to include.
Looking for a way to elevate your green salad? Then look no further.
This simple Chervil vinaigrette will take your salad to the next level.
You’ll need olive oil, lemon juice, fresh Chervil, rice vinegar, shallots, and salt and pepper.
Ensure the Chervil and shallots are chopped well, then mix all ingredients and season to taste.
That’s it! Your next favorite vinaigrette is done and ready to be used.
Try adding this vinaigrette overcooked food, too, like steamed asparagus, cooked fish, or even cooked chicken for extra oomph.
Cucumber Chervil Salad
This cucumber Chervil salad is the perfect summer dish. It is easy, refreshing, and will help keep you cool on hot summer days.
The ingredients are cucumber, Chervil leaves, red onion, lemon juice, olive oil, Maldon salt, black pepper.
You’ll want to thinly slice the cucumber and red onion – preferably on a mandolin for even cuts. Add in your Chervil leaves and the remaining ingredients and toss gently. Your delicious salad is ready to eat.
If you don’t have Maldon salt, you can substitute sea salt or Himalayan pink salt for a similar flavor.
Now that you know all about Chervil, it’s time for you to grow your own and get cooking!
Try the recipes above, and you’ll see how easy it is to incorporate this herb into everyday dishes.
Don’t be afraid to experiment by adding it to other meals. Happy eating!
All About Chervil and Substitute
- What is Chervil?
- What does Chervil taste like?
- Can Chervil be dried?
- How is Chervil used in cooking?
- Where to buy fresh Chervil?
- How to grow Chervil?
- What is a substitute for Chervil?
- What food goes well with Chervil?
- Preserving and Storing Chervil:
- Can you freeze Chervil?
- Is Chervil good dried?
- Best Recipes Using Chervil
- Chervil Soup With Meatballs
- Roasted Halibut With Chervil Sauce
- Couscous With Asparagus Chervil And White Wine
- Sea Scallops With Sugar Snap Peas And Chervil
- Chervil Vinaigrette
- Cucumber Chervil Salad
- Choose your favorite dish!
- Prepare ingredients according to the recipe.
- Be ready in 30 minutes or less!