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Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), otherwise known as French parsley, is an annual plant that grows wild in woods and meadows. It belongs to the Umbrellifera family and looks very similar to flat leaf parsley.
While Chervil is one of the lesser known herbs out there, it's a great addition to your arsenal of fresh herbs, with its delicate flavour and mild aniseed taste it's a match made in heaven with eggs and creamy sauces ... think omelettes and bearnaise sauce.
What is Chervil
Chervil is rich in vitamin C, carotene and mineral salts. It also has antioxidant, diuretic, purifying and re-mineralizing properties. In European folklore, the culinary herb was even said to induce sharp wits!
Where to find chervil
Chervil was originally native to the Caucasus but has since become naturalised all over Europe. It can be harder to come across in the US.
Fresh chervil can be found in some supermarkets if searching hard, but more commonly it's found in its dried form.
Chervil is easy to grow in the herb garden, even in pots, the important thing is that they should be kept cool and moist and grown in semi-shade. It starts to appear in early spring.
How to use Chervil in the kitchen
Chervil is perfectly suited to classical French cooking especially as part of the delicate herb blend used to make fines herbes (along with tarragon, chives and parsley), found in omelettes or scrambled eggs. Try this elegant recipe for herb crepes with mushroom and spinach in our recipe here.
Chervil can also be enjoyed fresh where it can also add a fresh sweetness to lightly dressed salads, soups or blitzed into oils and purees in a food processor.
Try making a herb sauce to go with this recipe for lamb chops with parsnip puree and mushrooms.