Tuesday, November 4, 2014


 (Anthriscus cerefolium)

Native from Eastern Europe to western Asia, Chervil was introduced to France and England by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago and has become one of the classic herbs used in French cookery.  Europeans often include bowls of minced fresh chervil leaves to accompany meals and sprinkle it liberally on salads, soups and stews.  It is also linked to the Easter celebration in parts of Europe, where it is eaten as part of the ceremony for Holy Thursday.  Its association comes in part from the fact its aroma is similar to myrrh and also its early spring sprouting which symbolizes renewal.  Chervil derives its name from the Latin chaerophyllum which means “festive herb” or “herb of joy.”

Chervil is a low growing annual with bright green lacy fern-like foliage that looks like carrot tops, which is not surprising since it is a member of the carrot family.  Closely related to parsley, it grows to a height of 18 inches and produces characteristic umbels of tiny silvery white flowers at the end of its very short growing period in mid-summer.  Chervil prefers cool weather in a moist shaded location and also does well growing in containers even indoors in pots near a window.  Tuck between other plants to help shield it from the summer sun.  It may easily be grown from seed either in the spring or fall, but develops a very long tap root which does not like transplanting, so be sure to plant it in a desired location. It can even be planted directly in a cold frame in fall for harvest throughout winter.  It also self-seeds readily.  Pick leaves and stems frequently as needed, but before flower buds open.  Despite its delicate appearance, it keeps well in a zip-lock bag in the refrigerator up to a week. To preserve it for later use, it may be chopped and frozen with water or dried on wire racks in a cool, ventilated, shady place and then stored in an airtight container.

Often referred to as “gourmet’s parsley,” chervil tastes mildly of licorice combined with pepper, somewhat intermediate between parsley and anise, and imparts certain freshness to a dish.  Most frequently used to flavor eggs, fish, chicken and light sauces; it also combines well with mild cheeses and is a tasty addition to herb butters.  It is what gives BĂ©arnaise its distinctive taste.  Because Chervil’s flavor is lost easily, it should be added at the end of cooking or just sprinkled on in its fresh, raw state before serving.  Chervil also brings out the flavor of other herbs, although its flavor is so potent, little else is needed as flavoring when added to foods.  An ingredient in the French blends of bouquet garni and fines herbes, chervil also adds a nice flavor to white wine vinegar and is a pretty edible salad garnish.  Tender, young chervil leaves have also been used in a spring tonic throughout history to rejuvenate the blood and body after a long winter.  Chervil is said to symbolize “sincerity,” so you can trust it to enhance your cooking and your health.

Fresh chervil leaves can be infused
in water to use as a skin freshener
 or dried leaves may be used
 to scent potpourri
1 cup fresh chervil
1/4 cup Romano Cheese                 
1/4 cup pine nuts – toasted
3 tablespoons olive oil                      
1 crushed clove of garlic
            Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until well chopped and blended. This is good spread on grilled fish or mixed with cream cheese as an appetizer spread.
1tsp dried chervil
1tsp dried thyme
1tsp dried basil
1tsp sweet marjoram
1tsp dried celery leaves
1/2tsp dried sage and rosemary
            1Tbs or half of this mixture is to be added directly to 2 quarts of soup or stew.

"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you.
I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”
Genesis 9:3

No comments: