Chervil, a cousin to carrots, is a delicate herb that is also related to [and looks a lot like] parsley. Originating in ancient Russia, the Romans spread the culinary use of chervil throughout Europe. Even the Roman philosopher Pliny wrote about chervil during the first century AD.
Chervil combines a light anise [licorice] fragrance with parsley's cleansing freshness. In addition to its culinary uses, it was claimed, in centuries past, to be useful as a digestive aid, for lowering high blood pressure, and, when infused with vinegar, as a hiccup cure.
Chervil is used to season mild-flavored dishes and is a main ingredient [along with chives, parsley, and tarragon] of the French seasoning Fines Herbes. It also combines well with the subtle flavors of saffron and tarragon. Due to its delicate flavor, chervil should be added at the last moment and in generous quantity.
Chervil is sometimes referred to as France's "most elegant" herb because its delicate flavor goes well with subtle and refined foods. Use chervil to season poultry, seafood, and young or spring vegetables. Chervil is particularly popular in France, where it is added to omelettes, salads and soups.
Chervil adds color and flavor to creamy sauces, herb butters or cream cheese, as well adding an herbal-anise flavor to vinaigrettes and seafoods. It also goes well with potatoes, carrots, Spanish menestras, or sauteed spring vegetables.