|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.
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.|