Thursday, 21 June 2012

of chervil, milk mayonnaise, and chicken burgers

chervil mayo chicken sandwiches on toasted seven-seed bread.






































I have to confess that despite my apparent adventurous streak, I frequently use the same herbs over and over again. This is due partly to my cheerful reliance on my little windowsill herb garden, which currently flourishes with mint, rosemary and garlic chives, but let's face it... variety is fun, and there are only so many facets I can tease out of those three, awesome as they are.

So I've decided I should expand my repertoire and when I spotted chervil at the markets recently, it felt like the perfect challenge, because I knew absolutely zilch about it.

Chervil looks like a tinier, daintier version of flat-leaf parsley, and upon sampling it I found that it has a similar taste too, but gentler and with a bonus hint of anise. Now I have to say that my feelings toward parsley and aniseed are lukewarm at best - I'll accept small amounts in my food, but I don't go out of my way for them - however, I have developed quite an affection for chervil, perhaps because it has a much subtler magic to it. In fact, I bought it again at South Melbourne Market the very week after my first purchase, and I can see it sneaking into my meals more often in the future.

A few simple ideas for chervil? Chop it up and toss it together with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and almond flakes to create a simple salad. Serve it fresh atop a hot noodle broth. Use it anywhere you can imagine using parsley. Trust that it will deliver. It did for me.

chervil.

But wait, there's more! I did a bit of poking around online to see what others have done with their chervil and came across David Lebovitz's chervil mayonnaise recipe, which is basically a chervil-ised adaptation of David Leite's milk mayonnaise - an intriguing eggless mayonnaise recipe of Portuguese origins that uses milk in lieu of yolks.

This milk mayonnaise, it works. If you feel a bit iffy about raw eggs, it will change your life. Fresh mayo, no eggs, no worries - and if you're vegan, soy milk will do, too!

I decided to start with Leite's mayonnaise, with the idea that I would just dress some roughly chopped chervil with it afterwards, instead of incorporating finely chopped chervil as per Lebovitz's way. Initially, I foolishly attempted this by hand with a balloon whisk, which took me nowhere, but once I transferred the mixture to a little blender, it emulsified beautifully, smooth and thick. I then foolishly washed my chervil just before dredging it through the mayonnaise (instead of doing it earlier and letting it dry). The excess moisture undid my efforts and I ended up with a slightly watery concoction.

Oh well, live and learn. By the way, if you're suspiciously wondering why my milk mayonnaise is so vibrantly yellow, it's due to the carotene-rich oil I used. It's all legit, I promise!

Despite my gaffes, dinner was served. Toasted organic sourdough seven-seed bread. Pan-fried free-range chicken patties. Freshly blended milk mayonnaise. Garlands of chervil. Simon helping me out with the photographs, because he knows better on how to fight the curse of artificial lighting, and because I could really use a break after all my travails. Standing by the kitchen bench together as we devoured our burgers. Happiness.

chervil mayo chicken burgers on toasted seven-seed bread.

38 comments:

  1. Milk mayonnaise! I've never heard of such a thing. But I'll have to try it out - and I love all those variations... curry, sundried tomato, etc. Yum!

    I was just thinking about chervil yesterday, and how much I'd like to try it. I never see it around here, so I'd probably have to grow it from seed. Maybe next year:)

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    1. Those variations do look delicious, don't they?

      Chervil's a nice little herb and surprisingly versatile. Do check it out! :)

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  2. Love your foray into the unknown! Milk mayo sounds interesting and chervil too! Can't remember if I ever used it, probably not! the sandwiches you fixed look mighty good!

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  3. OMG, I think I'm in heaven! First of all, what a gorgeous photo! It's just coming up to 6 pm, and I absolutely want that chicken burger - not just any chicken burger, THAT one, with its milk mayo and beautiful chervil...(I'm similar in my repeat of favourite herbs but I've now come across a few tantalizing chervil recipes and have to track it down...). Loved this post!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! Do hope you come across some chervil soon, I'm sure you'll make something beautiful with it.

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  4. That is one good looking chicken burger!! Must try the milk mayo, my husband has a great aversion to eggs so this would be a fantastic alternative.

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    1. The milk mayo would be the perfect solution for him, indeed!

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  5. I have never heard of milk mayo either but I am very keen to try. I have so many herbs but no chervil plant so you have inspired me to add one to my collection! Love the look of this burger Leaf, well done!

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    1. Yes, do try! It's really easy. I'm jealous of your many herbs, and I think chervil would be a great addition. I might even try growing some myself... hmmm.

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  6. Love the sound of that chervil almond side salad! Unfortunately, gloopy mayo gives me the heebiejeeies :P

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    1. Perhaps I should post the recipe for that salad. And yes, I won't be mixing wet herbs with mayo next time!

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  7. Thanks for the description of chevril. I've been hesitating over getting it at the farmer's market where I work, because I wasn't sure what to do with it or wether I would use it a lot. I am quite a fan of that aniseedy flavour so it sounds good to me!

    Milk mayo is a winner too!

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    1. It's definitely worth trying at least once, to see if it's your thing, as it sounds like you'll like it. :D

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  8. oh! Milk... awesome. Will definitely try this

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  9. Ahhhh luckily you have someone to help you with photographing in artificial light, it's so hard!
    Meanwhile, these look AAAAAmazing!!

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  10. I clicked through to the milk mayonnaise and now I am fascinated! I really want to try it, but I don't have any electric mixing equipment - I wonder if a whisk and some patience would do the trick?

    I get into a bit of a herb rut too - it all depends on what decides it can live on my windowsill, that's what I end up using all the time.

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    1. I know you can with eggs but not sure if it might be more difficult with milk. I tried with a whisk but gave up and used the blender. Having superhuman hands might help. :p

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  11. Mum loves homemade milk mayonnaise and so do I!
    Chervil isn't easy to find here in Spain so I've never tried it. Hope I can when I travel abroad this summer!

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    1. Yay, nice to know someone who is familiar with milk mayonnaise!
      It seems that chervil is popular in France, but I'm not sure about other places. Have fun traveling and exploring!

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  12. Your chervil mayo chicken burgers looks divine:) Who doesn't love home made mayo. I do:)

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    1. Thank you. Homemade is indeed excellent. :D

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  13. That looks gorgeous! I've never used chervil either. I've been eyeing tarragon in the shops lately, wondering what it can add to my life!

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    1. Chervil seems to be quite under-appreciated. If my post converts anyone that would be awesome. Tarragon is another herb I should try more, I think I've only had it at restaurants.

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  14. I am the same way - I definitely get stuck in an herb rut. This is good inspiration to break out of it! And milk mayo sounds so interesting - must give it a try.

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  15. Leaf you really are the most adventurous blogger I know! I honestly learn something new every time I visit your blog, you're awesome! Anyway, if I saw these at the market I really think I would've just passed them for parsley, they look identical to me haha. Your chicken burger with chevril mayo looks TO DIE FOR I HAVE to make these for lunch to bring to work one day... Thanks for this! =D

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    1. Aww, you're too kind! :) Chervil is smaller and skinnier than parsley, so that's one way to tell them apart. Plus, where I got them they were labeled in packets, so no confusion there. :D

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  16. Lovely! I've never heard of chervil or milk mayonnaise, this is sooooo interesting, really. And kudos for the hardcore awesome recipe. You have a gift for making people hungry as hell. Take care!

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    1. Apparently some French dishes use chervil! You could check them out. And thank you, take care of yourself too. :)

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  17. I love doing that! Buying random ingredients just to see what I can make with them. Congrats on your chervil milk mayonnaise. :)

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    1. Random-ingredient-fun is where it's at! ;)

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  18. That looks so good Leaf. And the photos turned out really well - go Simon! :)

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    1. Thanks, Agnes! Yes, Simon does come in quite handy sometimes. ;)

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  19. Milk mayo sounds fantastic and my brother is peering over my shoulder trying to take a bite of the screen :D
    Looks gorgeous and nice to meet another Aussie blogger!

    Cheers
    CCU

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    1. Thanks for the lovely words, and nice to meet you (and your bro)! :D

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