Have you ever wanted an herb that could do double-duty to perk up your spring garden with tiny fern-like fronds and give you a nice herb too? You may want chervil. Chervil is also known as sweet cicely, and it’s a classic European herb, having originated in the British Isles. If I had to define chervil’s flavor, I’d say that it combines the mildest forms of both parsley and the licorice-y herbs like fennel and tarragon. Its flavor compared to herbs like parsley is gentle enough that your whole family will appreciate it. I love using it in spring salads of delicate greens, chopped and served in a remoulade sauce, or as the last-minute sprinkle surprise on mild fish and shellfish like mussels.
Chervil in our area, sadly, is short-lived; heat makes it go to seed faster than spinach on a hot day. That said, I’m grateful that it grows even when I sometimes forget to plant it (like this year). Chervil readily self-seeds, so as long as you don’t disturb the soil too much around where it’s growing, you’ll only have to plant it yourself once. After that, chervil will happily plant itself–and who can’t appreciate that in a garden herb that’s also decorative?
Are you interested in seed sources for chervil or do you have other questions? Do you have a favorite recipe in which you use chervil? Share in comments!
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