Cucumber and Chervil Salad

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

salt, pepper 

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.



38 Replies to “Cucumber and Chervil Salad”

  1. I never tried fresh chervil before… maybe I never saw it in the market. I bought some dried “cerfeuil” once on a whim, looked it up at home and discovered it was dried chervil… I had no idea what I could do with it though. Unfortunately it’s one of the “watery” herbs, which don’t do well dried at all, not like the oily herbs, like rosemary, thyme etc.

    I love a basic cucumber salad – it’s one of those really underappreciated things I think – I’m not sure what flavour fresh chervil really has to be honest – I’ll have to try and track some down and use it next time! Thanks for the idea 🙂

    1. Thank you, Charles. Yes, it’s a bit like basil. Not good when dried. I will freeze some if I see I cannot use it quickly enough. I see it frequently on my farmers market (of course now I have it on my balcony 😉 ).

  2. Of all the beautiful dishes you make Sissi, I think these simple Japanese inspired salads remind me of you the most…I adore these kinds of fixings too – with lemon, lime or vinegar and find myself preparing them daily this time of year. Like you, I have come across chervil in dried herb mixes but have never purchased it fresh. I’m very curious now and have to keep an eye out. I’m not sure I’ve come across it at the grocery store but I bet the farmers’ market might have… yay for summer! :). What a pretty, summer fresh picture too.

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly. Actually when I was making it I didn’t think about anything Japanese. It was rather of French inspiration (vinaigrette and chervil), but when I tasted it, the simplicity and the elegance reminded me of some Japanese dishes with few ingredients and very simple in appearance.

  3. So simple and yet so elegant, this salad. Chervil is one of my very favorite herbs to eat raw. The locals here love to have it with “sambal” and when I do make this salad, I’d probably stir some of it in too … just for a little kick 🙂
    My herb bushes could never grow fast enough for me … poor things.

    1. Thank you so much, Ping. This is huuuge news! I would never guess chervil is used in Malaysia! Can you tell me more or less with which dishes you see it? I have a Malaysian/Singaporean/Indonesian cookery book (very good and I think authentic judging by the crazy ingredients and complicated recipes), so I might maybe include chervil in some of them. There are several sambals in this book if I remember in the introduction. This herb grew really quickly! The quickest of all (apart from the rocket which grows like weed).

      1. I’ve never seen it used as part of a dish, well, not the ones I know anyway.
        We’ve always had it raw as a salad/appetizer and always with sambal, any kind of sambal.

  4. What a beautiful and fresh looking salad! I’ve seen chervil at our local grange. However I never ventured to try it or even plant some… I’m going out at my lunch break to look for chervil.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted chervil. However, your description of the anise seed flavor makes me want to grow some! What a simple and delicious looking salad! Perfect for the heat of the summer!

    1. Thank you so much, MJ. If you like aniseed you would love chervil and even those who don’t like aniseed taste might like it because it’s really subtle.

  6. Like you, I have never bought or cooked with Chevril, but your recipe certainly looks tempting, Sissi. I adore a cucumber salad in summer, it’s simple and so refreshing. Have you ever thought of adding cucumber slices to plain water? It is exceptional!

    1. Thank you, Eva. Cucumber is my favourite all year round, but I become really obsessed in the summer. It’s so cooling… Thank you for the water tip. I will try it!

  7. I have never tasted Chervil before, actually don’t think they are used in Asian cousins, maybe not even American?

    I love that we are all eating cucumbers now a days, lots of refreshing recipes popping up all over the web space, yet all taste different. Yum!

    1. Hi, Jeno. Your salad is the next I will test (one of your salads!) because they looked really fabulous. I could have cucumber at least once a day because it’s so good, chilling and also healthy. Ping says it’s used in Malaysia, but maybe only there…

  8. I don’t think I’ve even seen chervil before. They definitely don’t sell them in the supermarkets but I’ll keep a lookout for them when i visit farmers markets. Am also up for learning and tasting new ingredients! This salad is perfect for the hot weather we are having here! Something nice and cooling will be just right!

  9. Years ago a friend and I killed ourselves laughing at the grocery store when we spotted chervil — we thought it was such a funny name and seemed like such an exotic herb. Now I don’t quite get why we thought it was so funny. Anyway, I’ve spotted this recently when buying herbs for my garden. Given that you recommend it, I’ll see if they still have it and give a go at growing it myself.

    1. Hi, Barb. Do buy it! It grows really quickly (the quickest herb to grow together with rocket), so I’m sure it’s not too late.

  10. To be honest, I’ve never had chervil nor seen one before. But looking at how simple the salad it and your dressing looks very refreshing. I am wondering if that is available here in the states? I have to check that out. Thank you, Sissi and I hope you are having a wonderful week!

    ~ ray ~

    1. Thank you so much, Ray. I think you might be able to buy seeds and plant it (it’s so easy to grow!). I hope you can taste this extraordinary herb one day.

  11. Sissi, I have not seen fresh chervil in any of our produce markets, or supermarkets. I would probably have to order some seeds to plant! I love frsh chervil, but only had them in Italy a few years ago!
    Love cucumber salad, which I make often…different ways. The simple cucumber salad is lovely…I think I could substitute dried chervil, which I keep in the freezer along with my other dried herbs, and special spices to keep fresher, and keep their color longer.
    Perhaps just add chopped Italian parsley to it.

    Thanks so much for your sweet comments, and you’re welcome to come for a walk on my beach with me, and to visit, if you’re ever in South Florida area! For me, I’m always glad to visit Ohio in the beautiful fall, to visit with family!

    1. Thank you so much, Elisabeth. If I were to substitute it I would definitely choose fresh dill. Dill and cucumber always taste great together.
      If you find fresh chervil, freeze it because the dried one (for me at least) has nothing to do with the fresh one. It grows so quickly, I think I will plant it once more in a couple of weeks (and I have only a balcony container, so if you have a garden you will have lots of chervil!). Thank you for your kind proposition. If I ever go to this part of the USA, I will not miss a walk (oops! sorry for the edit) on the beach with you 🙂

  12. Beautiful looking salad! Bet it tasted great…I love cucumber salads. I haven’t tasted chervil either and it’s not easy to find here in the US. My small bush is the sweet mint that’s growing out of control in my pot. Need to make something with it so I can trim it down a bit.

  13. Dear Sissi,

    This salad is so elegant and simple with the delicate chervil. I love coriander (or cilantro) which is somewhat similar and tried growing it once but it my experience was not easy as it usually gets destroyed by a strong gust of wind.

    1. Thank you so much, Chopinand. I wouldn’t say that chervil is similar to coriander (which is very strong in my opinion), but I love both. Chervil is much easier to grow than coriander, also on my balcony.

  14. I used translator but it says Chervil in Katakana. I guess we don’t have this herb in Japan (or in the US since I’ve never seen it in “regular” market – like you said it might be in farmer’s market or fancy supermarket). You know what, if I ever find it I must try. This is SUPER easy to make and most of us don’t even know this herb! =)

    1. Chervil is quite a European herb I think. It’s used a lot in France and apparently is quite known in Britain too. If you want to sow it one day, just send a message and I’ll send you the seeds. It’s one of the easiest and fastest growing herb I know.
      I think you would love the taste because it’s very distinct but elegant and delicate at the same time, a bit like mitsuba (but the taste is completely different of course! it’s just that it’s not as strong as parsley or coriander for example).

  15. My daughter would absolutely love this recipe. She is such a cucumber fan. I’m always trying to figure out what to do with them to mix it up a bit. Great recipe.

    1. Thank you, Kim. I think you might find more cucumber recipes soon here because I’m also a big fan 🙂

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