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How to Use Chervil

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Exploring the Delicate Flavor of Chervil: Recipes, Tips, and More

Chervil, with its delicate, slightly sweet flavor reminiscent of anise and parsley, is an herb not typically highlighted in American cuisine. It’s a fantastic springtime herb that we love to incorporate into our weekly meals when in season. Easy to grow, easy to use, and easy to love, it’s worth trying to get your hands on some. Look for it when springtime is in full force.

Growing Chervil

This prolific herb can thrive in various growing conditions but prefers to be out of the mid-day heat and sun. Sow seed from spring to late summer in a cool partly shaded spot, directly where the plant is to grow. It favors direct seeding and does not do well with being transplanted. Which is why it is rare to find it in a nursery. An attractive small-leafed plant, chervil can be grown alongside ornamental plants on a border as well as in your herb or vegetable garden.1

field of flowering chervil

Understanding Chervil

Chervil, also known as French parsley, is a member of the parsley family and is prized for its delicate flavor and delicate leaves. Its subtle hint of licorice adds depth to dishes without overpowering other flavors. It is a versatile herb for both savory and sweet recipes.

Nutritional Qualities

Overall, chervil is valued not only for its delicate flavor but also for its nutritional content. Its potential health benefits make it a valuable addition to a balanced and wholesome diet. Chervil is rich in antioxidants, a source of vitamins and minerals, and a good digestive aid2.

Flavor Profile and Pairings

Chervil offers a delicate and nuanced flavor profile. It combines subtle hints of anise, parsley, and citrus, and has a mild peppery undertone. You could describe its flavor as fresh, herbaceous, and slightly sweet. Because of its flavor profile, it is a versatile herb in culinary applications. I find its simplicity one of its best virtues. Be cautionary to use it at the last minute, usually as a finishing herb, or any heat will obliterate its dainty disposition and its flavor will disappear.

What Compliments the Herb

  • Lemon: The citrusy brightness of lemon pairs beautifully with chervil’s delicate flavor, enhancing its freshness.
  • Garlic: The savory richness of garlic compliments chervil’s herbal notes, adding depth to dishes.
  • White Wine: The acidity and fruity undertones of white wine can enhance chervil’s flavors, especially in sauces and dressings.
  • Butter: The creamy richness of butter helps mellow chervil’s flavors while adding a luxurious texture to dishes.
  • Seafood: Chervil’s light and fresh profile pairs well with various seafood, including fish, shrimp, and scallops, enhancing their natural flavors without overpowering them.

Good Contrasts

  • Chili Pepper: The heat and spiciness of chili peppers provide a bold contrast to chervil’s delicate flavor, creating a dynamic balance in dishes.
  • Vinegar: The tanginess of vinegar can provide a sharp contrast to chervil’s sweetness, adding brightness and complexity to salads and marinades.
  • Radishes: The peppery bite of radishes contrasts with chervil’s subtle flavor, creating a refreshing and vibrant combination in salads and garnishes.
  • Mustard: The pungent and slightly bitter taste of mustard can provide a sharp contrast to chervil’s mild sweetness, adding depth to sauces and marinades.
  • Cumin: The earthy and aromatic flavor of cumin contrasts with chervil’s herbal notes, creating a rich and complex flavor profile in soups, stews, and spice blends.

How to Use Chervil

chervil butterleaf salad

Recipes Using Chervil

Sauces

  • Chervil Pesto: A delightful twist on a classic pesto, chervil pesto combines the herb’s delicate flavor with garlic, pine nuts or walnuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Perfect for tossing with pasta, spreading on sandwiches, or drizzling over grilled vegetables.
  • Chervil Butter: Blend softened butter with finely chopped chervil, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a pinch of salt for a fragrant compound butter. Use it to top grilled steaks, and roasted vegetables, or spread it on warm crusty bread.
  • Chervil Vinaigrette: Whisk together chervil, shallots, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, and olive oil for a vibrant and aromatic vinaigrette. Drizzle over mixed greens or use it as a marinade for grilled chicken or fish.

Appetizers

  • Pesto Crostini: Blend fresh chervil leaves with garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil until smooth. Spread this vibrant pesto over toasted crostini and top with thinly sliced radishes or cherry tomatoes, a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms: Mix finely chopped chervil with cream cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, and grated Parmesan. Fill each mushroom cap with this flavorful mixture, then bake until golden and delicious.

Salads/Sides

  • Potato Salad: Combine boiled potatoes with chopped chervil, diced shallots, Dijon mustard, sherry vinegar, and olive oil. A refreshing twist on classic potato salad! Perfect for picnics, barbecues, or as a light lunch option.
  • Simple Butter Lettuce Salad: Toss tender butter lettuce leaves with fresh chervil leaves, thin radish slices, and a light vinaigrette. This is a simple yet elegant salad.

Main Course

The ‘Chervil Simple Syrup’ recipe card has a variety of uses. While you can use it to sweeten cocktails, such as a Gin Fizz, you can also use it to enhance iced teas, lemonades, or sparkling water for refreshing summer beverages. You could even drizzle it over fresh fruit salads or mix it into fruit compotes for a hint of herbal sweetness. Furthermore, try incorporating it into whipped cream or frosting for a subtle herbal flavor in desserts.

Please let us know in the comments below if you try any of these ideas or have any of your own! We’d love to hear from you. And while you’re here, check out some of our other herb-related posts if you’d like to find other fresh and interesting herb ideas.

chilled chervil simple syrup in mason jar in front of a bunch of chervil on a wooden chopping block

Chervil Simple Syrup

Liven up your beverages and desserts with this aromatic chervil-infused syrup, boasting a delicate herbaceous anise type flavor.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: batch cooking, cocktails, herbs, mocktails, versatile
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooling Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 16
Calories: 52kcal
Author: juiceofsevenlemons
Cost: $0.50

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup fresh chervil loosely packed

Instructions

  • In a saucepan, combine water and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Add the chervil leaves to the saucepan and reduce the heat to low.
  • Simmer the mixture for 5-7 minutes, allowing the chervil to infuse into the syrup.
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature.
  • Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the chervil leaves.
  • Transfer the chervil syrup to a clean jar or bottle and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Notes

Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Here are some creative ways to use chervil syrup:
  • Cocktails and Mocktails: Use chervil syrup as a sweetener in cocktails and mocktails. It pairs well with gin, vodka, tequila, and rum-based drinks. Try it in a Chervil Gin Fizz, Chervil Mojito, or Chervil Lemonade for a refreshing twist.
  • Salad Dressings: Incorporate chervil syrup into homemade salad dressings to add a subtle sweetness and herbal note. Combine it with olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, and seasonings for a delicious dressing to drizzle over mixed greens, spinach, or arugula salads.
  • Marinades and Glazes: Use chervil syrup as a base for marinades and glazes for meats, poultry, seafood, and tofu. Combine it with soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings to create a flavorful marinade for grilling or roasting. Brush it onto grilled vegetables for a caramelized finish.
  • Dessert Toppings: Use chervil syrup in desserts such as fruit salads, ice creams, and panna cotta. It adds a touch of sweetness and herbal complexity to these dishes and enhances their flavor profile.
  • Tea/Water Infusions: Use chervil syrup to infuse non-alcoholic beverages such as iced tea, lemonade, and sparkling water. It adds a unique flavor profile to drinks and makes them more interesting and enjoyable.
  • Fruit Preserves: Use chervil syrup as a sweetener in homemade fruit preserves and jams. Combine it with fresh or frozen fruits and cook them down into a thick, flavorful spread that can be enjoyed on toast, pancakes, or waffles.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but feel free to experiment with chervil syrup in your favorite recipes to discover new and delicious flavor combinations!

Nutrition

Serving: 15g | Calories: 52kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Potassium: 1mg | Sugar: 13g
  1. Fisher, S. (2023, January 27). How to grow chervil. Gardeners World. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from https://www.gardenersworld.com/how-to/grow-plants/how-to-grow-chervil/ ↩︎
  2. Chauhan, M. (2019, September 6). What are the Uses and Health Benefits of Chervil (Anthriscus Cerefolium)? Planet Ayurveda. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from https://www.planetayurveda.com/library/chervil-anthriscus-cerefolium/ ↩︎

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