Do you have interest in cooking? If you do, you agree with me that cooking is an art. You acquire skills over time to become great. In cooking you have to keep seeking new information and new ingredients.
Today we are going to talk about yet another ingredient. Chervil.
What is it? What does it look like? Where can you find it? In the event that you do not find it, is there a substitute for it? How do you use it? We are going to answer these questions and more. Welcome aboard.
What is Chervil?
Chervil is a green plant. It looks a bit paler than parsley. Its leaves are almost like those of a carrot plant. A bunch of chervil leaves may sometime have tightly closed leaves which are almost flower like.
Chervil is very common in French cuisines. It is best used in salads as well as egg dishes like omelet. It is best in these dishes because its taste is not overshadowed.
Where can we find Chervil?
Chervil is a spring herb and is therefore easily found during winter in warmer climates. Chervil is available in spring as well, as early summer in cooler areas. Heat causes chervil to turn bitter and go to seed just like parsley and Cilantro.
The difference is that chervil is not as common as the two. You might need to get it either from specialty stores or from farmers markets. In groceries look for it in the herbs section.
You can also grow it yourself so you can have constant supply of chervil. Chervil does well in moderate temperatures. Not too much sunlight neither too little of it. You can also grow it in a pot and place it next to a window. There it will receive just the right conditions for it to grow.
How do we use Chervil?
Note that chervil is a herb. So how do you use it in your cooking?
I will give you a few examples of dishes where you can use chervil. Like I mentioned earlier it very good when used in raw salads and eggs recipes. You can also use it in potato salads and in soups. Chervil should be used towards the end of cooking so that it does not lose in flavor.
What other substitutes can we use in place of Chervil?
The herb might not be available to you wherever you are. The first thing you need to note is that no other herb will taste exactly like chervil. You can use either parsley or tarragon. It is advisable to use the both to achieve that great taste that chervil adds to food.
Note that the taste is quite different but they work equally well. There is also another herb known as chive that is commonly used with tarragon, parsley and chervil. The herb is not however a good substitute of chervil like tarragon and parsley.
Having said that you may want to know about tarragon and parsley. Tarragon is also a herb and is leafy and green. It is mostly used in fish and chicken dishes. It has a unique subtle flavor.
The next question is where to find it. Fresh tarragon is mostly available in winter in warmer climate and at the end of winter in climates that are temperate. There are those who grow it in green houses too where it can grow throughout.
You can get it specialty stores or farmer markets. Since it is not common you might want to store it for later use. Store it in a plastic bag when it is loosely packed. This method works best if you are only storing it for days.
If you need to store it for a longer period of time lay the stems on paper towel and roll them. Pack them loosely in a plastic bag. This will keep the herb from drying and equally not so wet as to rot.
Parsley is the other substitute for chervil. It is also a herb and happens to be very popular in the worlds. The herb is very versatile and is used in many ways. It is commonly used as garnish. In some parts of the world food is served with finely chopped parsley. It is also used in snacks, stews, soups as well as casseroles.
Parsley is much easier to preserve. You only need to put in two paper bags and push out as much air as you can and put it in the freezer. Your parsley will stay fresh for long. This type of parsley is best used in dishes such as mashed potatoes just to add flavor.
You can also preserve parsley as cubes. In this method you blend the parsley with water or olive oil to form a thick puree. Pour the puree into an ice tray and freeze it. Once frozen take the cubes and put them in a plastic bag that is sealable for long storage.
If you have to choose between the curly parsley and the flat-leaf parsley .The flat leaf parsley is better for the second method. You are probably wondering why. I will give you my reasons:
- The first reason is that it has more flavor. It is also easier to chop as well as mince.
- It is also easier to clean and can easily be stored without crushing.
- The flat-leaf parsley is also known as the Italian parsley.
If you were to make a choice I would advise you to choose it. It is a better option.
Though both tarragon and parsley are good substitutes for chervil, they are also used independently in other dishes. Each herb has a list of dishes where it works best. You are not restricted to only the dishes that are mentioned in this article. As I said earlier cooking is an art and you are allowed to learn more and better skills.
With this knowledge it is good to note that you should not use too much herbs in your food. You are cooking the food not the herbs. Herbs are a great way to add flavor to your food. You can now go ahead and shop for your herbs. In case chervil is on the list and you do not find it, you already know the best substitute for it.