Chervil is a very old herb in Nordic cuisine, but almost impossible to buy. People who love it and know how to use it are almost gone, and young cooks have yet to discover its virtues – so even in Scandinavia you have to grow your own. Learn more about chervil in Scandinavia.
How it grows
Chervil is a winter annual, so it can be sown in autumn and be the first plentiful herb to appear in spring. Sow it again in early spring and you can enjoy a supply of chervil all summer long.
Related: Scandinavian Herbs
Appearance and taste
Chervil has light green, fern-like leaves that are not dissimilar to parsley in appearance, and clusters of tiny white flowers from spring to summer. The leaves are the subtlest of the aniseed-flavored herbs; the mild anise flavor is never overwhelming, as tarragon, for example, can be.
Related: Tarragon in Scandinavia
The classic use of chervil is with eggs, and it goes perfectly with ramsons in an omelet. Alternatively, try mixing it with almonds, new garlic, olive oil, salt and lemon juice to make an unusual pesto to go with fish, salted meats or new vegetables.
Sweet cicely (an easily grown and beautiful perennial herb) is a good alternative to chervil, even if it’s not quite as delicate.
Related: Scandinavian Poor Man’s Asparagus
The easiest and most versatile sauce of all, chervil cream, will add a spring-like lightheartedness to all fried, grilled and baked fish, shellfish and new vegetables.
1 large bunch of chervil
250ml crème fraîche
Salt and pepper
Simply chop the chervil very finely, almost to a mush, and then mix with the crème fraiche. Season with some salt and a little pepper, to taste. The result is an incredibly flavorful, light green cream sauce.
Chervil in Scandinavian, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Photo by Wikipedia