Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chervil

Chervil fresh this week at the Farmers Market:
http://nrn.com/article/chervil-makes-comeback 

http://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Chervil_305.php

From the above link:Seasons/Availability
Chervil is available year round with a peak season in early Spring. 

Current Facts
Chervil is an indispensable herb in the French kitchen. It is known as one of the fine herbs, along with tarragon chives and parsley. Its prolific hardiness and easiness to grow make it a great annual to plant in any garden. There are several names for fresh chervil, including cicily, French parsley and cerfeuil. 

Description/Taste
Chervil is a feathery, fern-like herb and a member of the carrot family, Umbelliferae. This family of herbs is classified by aromatic plants with hallow stems. Chervil clearly qualifies as a sensory herb with aromatics of anise and parsley and equivalent nuances of flavors that warm the palate. Once chervil plants mature, they produce small, white, edible flowers that resemble the shape of an umbrella. 

Applications
Chervil pairs well with eggs, fish, asparagus, potatoes, light sauces and vinegar based-sauces. Process fresh chervil with garlic, pecorino, toasted pine and olive oil into pesto and toss with hot pasta. Blanche diced potatoes and dress them with vinaigrette while warm, cool to room temperature and toss with chopped chervil. Add minced chervil and shallots to olive oil and vinegar, then whisk to combine and toss with baby lettuce, asparagus and almonds. Chervil will keep, dry and refrigerated, for up to a week. 

Geography/History
Chervil is native to the Caucasus region of Eastern Europe and was spread throughout Europe by the Romans. It was once referred to as 'myrris" because of the volatile oils extracted from its leaves bear the same intense aromas of the biblical substance, myrrh. 


http://www.finecooking.com/item/5166/chervil  Information below is from Fine Cooking Magazine:
chervil
what is it?
Chervil, a close relative of parsley, is an aromatic, mild-flavored herb with subtle anise flavor. It has bright, lacy green leaves, and alhough it is available both dried and fresh, its delicate flavor is almost completely lost when dried. Chervil's flavor also quickly diminishes when heated, so be sure to add it to your dish near the end of cooking.
how to choose:
Supermarkets package fresh herbs in various ways: loose in small plastic boxes, fastened in bunches with rubber bands, or sometimes still growing in a pot. No matter the packaging, look for herbs with vibrant color and aroma (open up those boxes for a sniff), and avoid those that are limp or yellowing, have black spots, or don't smell totally fresh and appetizing.
how to prep:
Wash chervil only when you're ready to use it, because excess moisture shortens its shelf life in the refrigerator.

To wash herbs, put them in a large bowl of cool water and swish them to release grit. Lift the chervil out of the water with your hands, a sieve, or a skimmer. If you see a lot of grit on the bottom of the bowl, wash it again in a fresh bowl of water. Spin it dry in a salad spinner or gently blot it dry by rolling it up in a clean towel.

A sharp knife is imperative for chopping herbs. A dull one will crush and bruise tender leaves, giving you blackened rather than green results. You can use scissors to snip off small amounts.

The more tender the herb, the closer to cooking time you'll need to chop it. If you chop chervil in advance, cover it with plastic wrap punctured with a few air holes and refrigerate it. You can save leftover chopped herbs for a day or so, but sniff them before using.
how to store:
To keep this tender herb at its best, remove any rubber bands or fasteners. Because the roots draw the moisture from the leaves, it's important to trim off the root ends and the lower parts of the stems to prevent the tops from wilting. If the roots are large and prominent, you can save them to flavor soups or stocks.

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