Take a walk on the mild side with delicate, subtle, elegant Chervil.
Chervil is an herb for the connoisseur of fine flavours and fragrances. As you might expect from its refined appearance, chervil tastes mild and subtle; a little like parsley but with a sophisticated yet gentle anise warmth. There are two main varieties, one plain, and the other curly.
Known and cultivated in France for centuries where it is known as Cerfeuil. It is often used with tarragon, chives and parsley, as one of the French fab four of flavour in a fines herbes mixture. Chervil is most often swirled, whisked and folded into classic French dishes, but it's much too good to leave to the other side of the Channel.
Chervil's a great herb for summer, but it's often overlooked, no doubt in part because it can be hard to track down. No matter: it's one of the easiest herbs to grow. It grows quickly and is ready for harvesting after only six to eight weeks. It needs a cool, moist spot with dappled shade; when you've found that, simply scatter the seeds where you'd like them to grow. Sow more plants than you need and use the thinnings as a pretty, tasty addition to salads, better still, harvest the young leaves and use as microgreen.
Use Chervil to flavour eggs, fish, chicken and light sauces and dressings. It complements scrambled eggs and omelettes, cream cheese and herb sandwiches, salads and even mashed potatoes and combines well with mild cheeses and is a tasty addition to herb butters.
Chervil has to be one of the prettiest plants in the herb bed, a lacy, very dainty version of parsley. So pretty, in fact, that it would merit a place in the flowerbed, too.