Chervil has several
delicate features, ranging from its ferny parsley-like
foliage and its short life-span in hot weather
to its subtle aniseed flavour which can easily
be lost in cooking. Despite this apparent lack
of robustness, it grows quickly and the first
leaves can be picked about 8 weeks after sowing.
It is also hardy, so you can pick fresh chervil
in winter when the top growth of apparently indestructible
plants such as mint has succumbed to the frosts.
Sow chervil where it is to grow. A March sowing
will provide a summer crop and an August sowing
will provide leaves from autumn to spring. Thin
so that plants are 6in (15cm) apart and water
regularly in dry weather. Remove leaves from the
plant when gathering for the kitchen. At the same
time remove most (but not all) flower-heads –
leave a few to produce seeds for a self-sown crop
Make sure that you do not lose the delicate flavour.
Add finely chopped leaves to soups, fish and egg
dishes just before serving. Garnish salads with
it, but put it on the plates at the last minute.