This year I have started to grow chervil for the first time in my life. It proved one of the easiest and quickest herbs to grow on my balcony and I haven’t even noticed when it started to look like a small bush. Even though chervil is widely used in French cuisine (it’s a part of “fines herbes” mixture) and easily available here, I have never bought it or cooked with it, so this huge harvest looked quite challenging.
If you have never tasted and/or seen chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium), it’s similar to carrot greens, but its leaves are more fragile and smaller. Even though chervil is related to parsley, its subtle aniseed taste is completely different. The first leaves I pinched out of my balcony plant made me realise it was the most elegant herb I am growing and therefore it required a special treatment, at least for the first time. Alas, all the recipes I found used chervil together with other herbs, so I realised I had to make up something on my own. Finally, I decided to combine it with cucumber in a light, refreshing salad. Instead of vinegar I used lemon juice in my vinaigrette to make a more delicate seasoning, which wouldn’t mask the chervil taste. The simple salad I have prepared reminded me a of some Japanese simple but surprising dishes: the few ingredients created distinct, but subtle and elegant flavours. After such a rewarding first experiment I am looking forward to harvest more off my beautiful balcony bush.
Preparation: 10 minutes
Ingredients (serves two):
1 chilled small or half a big cucumber (I used 12 cm/ about 5 inches)
a small handful of chopped chervil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Cut the cucumber in two lengthwise and then slice it thinly.
Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl.
Add the cucumber and the chervil.
Mix everything and serve immediately.