Chervil is one of the most popular herbs used to flavor French food. It is known to taste slightly like parsley and slightly like anise. Chervil belongs to the family of carrots, and in appearance its leaves look like those on carrot tops. Its leaves are often stored in vinegar, so as to preserve their flavors. Chervil does not have a particularly identifiable or strong flavor. However, it is the subtlety of its flavors that makes it so popular among a variety of preparations. Many who have tasted this wonderful herb find that it generates a certain kind of warmth when eaten; another reason why it is so popular. When you are trying your hand at some exotic recipes that call for the use of chervil, and you don't have any at hand, you can use a good substitute that may not give you the exact flavor, but will certainly try and match up to the rich flavors that is provided by chervil leaves.
A substitute for chervil may be either fresh or dried. Dried chervil usually loses its flavor and contributes little to a dish. That is why experts suggest that when using chervil, it ought to be used fresh. However, sometimes dried chervil is required in a recipe and the substitutes for both fresh and dried chervil have been mentioned here. As mentioned earlier, these substitutes may not match up to the unique flavors that chervil lends to the final product, but will definitely add a good flavor to the food.
Fresh Chervil Substitute
For a good, fresh substitute, you may opt for any of the following herbs instead of 1 tablespoon of fresh, chopped chervil leaves:
- Fresh parsley leaves, 1 tbsp., chopped
- Fresh fennel leaves, 1 tbsp., chopped
- Fresh tarragon, 1 tbsp., chopped
- Fresh dill weed, 1 tbsp., chopped
- Chives, ¼ tsp. + fennel fronds, ¼ tsp. + hyssop, ¼ tsp. + lemon thyme, ¼ tsp., chopped - this mixture will give you a flavor slightly heightened than chervil, but the effect will be similar and pleasant
- Japanese parsley, 1½ tbsp., chopped - chervil has a stronger aroma than this, so add more of Japanese parsley if you like it strong
- Cicely, ½ - ¾ tbsp.
Dried Chervil Substitute
Do remember that dried chervil has little or no flavor. However, in spite of this, some recipes may call for its use. Substitute 1 teaspoon of dried chervil with any of the following:
- Dried parsley, 1 tsp.
- Dried fines herbes, 1 tsp.
- Dried parsley (1 tsp.) + dried, rubbed sage (1/8th tsp.)
Uses of Chervil Herb
Chervil is often used to enhance the flavors of a variety of other herbs that are added to different food preparations. It is most often used along with other French herbs such as tarragon, chives, and parsley. Take a look at the uses of chervil in different food recipes.
- Chervil is a common seasoning ingredient in different sauces and dressings. It is also used to add flavor to eggs, chicken, and fish.
- The prominent taste of béarnaise sauce is because of the presence of chervil in it.
- This is a herb of the spring season, and therefore, adds a distinctive flavor to other foods of this season including trout, potatoes, green beans, spring beans, and carrots.
- When dried, chervil loses all its flavor. It also loses its flavor due to prolonged cooking. The best way then, is to use fresh leaves right at the end of the cooking procedure as a garnish.
- Because chervil leaves lose their flavors so easily, they are often preserved in white vinegar, that adds to their exotic flavors. This preparation makes for a perfect low calorie salad dressing!
- The consumption of chervil also provides a variety of health benefits, such as the absorption of vitamin C, a nutrient essential for a healthy immune system. It even aids the digestion process.