Herbs and spices are common in our daily cooking life, especially ground cloves, onions, etc. But occasionally, we need more exotic herbs, such as chervil – a tasty green herb that will contribute a major taste to your French dish.
If you run out of chervil, have a look at the best substitute for chervil to save your recipe and please your appetite!
What Is Chervil?
So, what is chervil herb, or what is dried chervil? Chervil (Latin name: Anthriscus Cerefolium) is a delicate green spring herb found mostly in French and European recipes.
What does chervil look like? Due to the similarity between chervil and parsley in appearance, French people usually refer to chervil as “French parsley.”
Grown mostly in the European countryside, chervil has not made its big way to worldwide cuisine. Instead, it is a vital ingredient in French recipes, where delicacy and sophistication are strictly required, along with parsley, chives, and tarragon.
What does chervil taste like? Chervil’s taste is quite similar to parsley since these two herbs come from the same family, but much more subtle.
Chervil’s lightweight, lovely herbal tone makes it useful in egg dishes, salad, and omelets. When cooked in high heat, chervil usually breaks down; that’s why it is more frequently used in dry dishes.
6 Best Ingredients Used As A Substitute For Chervil
Parsley is a great substitution for chervil if you look for a herb that resembles chervil in appearance. As these two green spices come from the same family, replacing chervil vs parsley with another will produce no large difference.
In terms of flavor, parsley has a more lightweight and milder tone compared to chervil. It does not include the anise tone, a signature base tone in chervil, so it can’t completely mimic chervil’s flavor.
However, it won’t be a big deal, and you can still manage the flavor of parsley by adding more spices to your recipe to make the flavor more likely when you use chervil.
Like chervil, parsley can quickly lose its flavor once put in heat, so parsley is a suitable chervil substitution in dry dishes.
If your recipe requires one tablespoon of chervil, then feel free to use the same ratio with parsley. To ensure the flavor and vibrant color of parsley maintain in your dishes, put in parsley at the end of your cooking process. Another great parsley substitute that you can use is parsnip if you want to make a fun twist.
As one of the main ingredients in French cuisine, tarragon is the number one candidate to use if you are looking for a substitute for dried chervil.
Both tarragon and chervil contain an anise undertone – a specific characteristic in French herbs.
Even though the flavor of tarragon itself is extremely mild, you can still refer to it as chervil because of its similarity with licorice. Tarragon is a little bittersweet compared to chervil spice.
However, its overall mild tone resembles chervil to a great extent. Tarragon has a great European herbal sense, so you may see it in delicate dishes such as fish, soup, poultry as its delicate flavor doesn’t overpower the dish.
Contrary to what you may think, you only have half a tablespoon of tarragon to substitute for one tablespoon of chervil, and tarragon’s flavor is more powerful.
It can easily overpower your recipe’s flavor if you use too much tarragon, so it is best to start with a small amount of tarragon and increase it if needed. You can directly place tarragon on top of dishes to make an ornament or chop them into small pieces and use them as garnish.
When it comes to chervil’s flavor – we can describe it as a soft combination between parsley and tarragon. So depending on your recipe, if you have both parsley and tarragon in the cabinet, consider half of each to substitute for chervil. Remember to adjust the flavor frequently by tasting to decide what ratio and herbs to use to substitute for chervil.
You can easily find chives in your nearby local market or supermarket as this green spice is popular to use in tons of cuisine styles. However, you cannot substitute chervil with chives alone in contrast to its availability, as the flavor won’t match right away.
There is a significant difference in appearance. So, to use chives as one of the substitutes for chervil, you will need extra support from hyssop and thyme. These three spices, in equal ratio, will altogether create a substance that is chervil-like.
However, this combo is suitable for flavor only since it can get messy in appearance. You can chop these three herbs out, blend them all, and throw them in soups to replace chervil.
It is a complicated method, but the result can be worth it as a tantalizing herby aroma that you can sense right away when you finish cooking. And, of course, the better it smells, the better it tastes.
Another close relative of chervil that can help substitute for it is dill. As for being a family member with parsley and chervil, you can use dill as a chervil substitute.
Like tarragon, dill has a special reminiscence of anise, making it taste quite the same as chervil when put into dishes. Dill is aromatic, which is the number one criterion for using it as a chervil replacement.
However, beware not to overuse dill as its aromatic sense can ruin your dish flavor if you use too much of it. Like any other replacement tactic, it’s best to start with half a portion of the substitution compared to the amount you would use with chervil.
With its beautiful appearance and aromatic flavor, dill is used to season entrees with delicate protein like fish, shrimp, etc. You can easily update the look of your entrees from being ordinary to being superior by using dill, as it is one of the garnish tactics in restaurants.
If you are a fan of Italian or French cuisine, you may have been familiar with fennel. Either it is dried or fresh fennel, this stunning ingredient is loved by European cooks as they usually season it with protein, especially pork and seafood, to make the protein shine.
Fennel will do its best at substituting for chervil in a salad or dry dishes, as you would chop off the fennel and spray them onto your recipe for a fine-looking and fine-tasting substitution option.
With the equal similarity in anise content, please substitute one tablespoon of chervil for one tablespoon of fennel. Fennel comes at both fennel seed and fennel seed substitute: fennel leaves – so depending on your recipe, you can consider what kind of fennel to use to make sure to bring out most of the flavor of chervil leaves.
You may have known of cicely before, but once you learned about this herb as a dried chervil substitute, you will love it for sure.
Unlike the above herbs with a tense note with anise, cicely has a sweet flavor and includes aniseed signature tone of spring chervil. For that reason, cicely is the spice to choose in recipes that require both sweetness and chervil-like characteristics.
Apart from being a great substitute for chervil herb in savory dishes, you can use cicely alone to make drinks, prone to soothe sore throats and treat flu. Isn’t it amazing that a chervil substitute herb you intend to use in the beginning can be used individually as a remedy?
However, cicely can be difficult to find in your local market, so if there is a chance you encounter it, make sure to buy it and store it in your kitchen for future use.
And that’s everything we have as a substitute for chervil. This interesting spice may not be easy to find, so we hope this list helps you find other possible options for chervil.