Saturday, April 07, 2007

Weekend Herb Blogging #77

Weekend Herb Blogging hits Melbourne this week and is hosted by the lovely Anh of the equally lovely Food Lover's Journey and since one weekend in Melbourne isn't nearly enough, WHB will be back here next week and hosted by yours truly.

This week I'll be taking a look at that delicate herb from Ancient Rome, Chervil.


With it's fern-like leaves and subtle aniseed flavour one can't help but be entranced. When partnered with chives, tarragon and parsley it forms the "fines herbes" combination, used to flavour delicately flavoured items such as poultry and some seafood. It's also a most appropriate herb for the season as it symbolised new life and it was traditional to have chervil soup on Holy Thursday.

Medicinally, Chervil was thought to be a blood purifier and also considered to be a diuretic, expectorant and stimulant. In the Middle Ages, chervil was used to stop hiccups. It's also been used as an eyewash and brewed as a tea as a way to lower blood pressure. It's also high in bioflavonoids which help the body absorb Vitamin C.

The recipe I'm making today comes from Sydney Chef Matt Moran and can be found in his self-titled cookbook. As I was looking for something a little different to partner with my Good Friday fish my attention was immediately drawn to his Sauce Gribiche.

A combination of boiled egg-whites, gherkins, capers, mayonnaise, chervil and tarragon it makes an interesting chance from the regular Tartare sauce. I have made a change to the original recipe I've halved the quantity of mayonnaise and added it back as crème fraîche. It's something I also do the same when making tartare - I quite like that extra dimension that the crème fraîche (or sour cream) adds.

sauce gribiche

Sauce Gribiche
[Makes enough for 4]

2 eggs
50 grams Gherkins, chopped finely
50 grams salted capers, rinsed and chopped finely
40ml mayonnaise
40ml crème fraîche (or sour cream)
30 grams Chervil, chopped finely
30 grams Tarragon, chopped finely

Boil the eggs:
First thing you need to do is hard boil the eggs. I use a method that St Delia Smith sets out in her "How to Cook Vol 1" and it works every time.

Put the eggs in a pan with cold water that just covers them by 1cm/½ inch. When the water begins to simmer, set the timer for 6 minutes for a "squidgy" centre and 7 minutes for a hard centre. Once the time has place them under running water for 1 minute and then plunge them in cold water for 2 minutes. They are then ready to be peeled.

For this recipe you only need the set whites and Matt suggests keeping the egg-yolks for a sandwich - I suggest you just gobble them up to fortify yourself for the cooking duties ahead of you.

Cut the egg-whites into a small dice and set aside to cool.

In a bowl add the chopped gherkins, capers, chervil, tarragon, mayonnaise and crème fraîche - stir well until combined and then add the diced egg-whites. Stir gently so not to break up the whites. Cover and place in the fridge until ready to serve.


That's all there is to it - served alongside crumbled King George Whiting it provides a tangy counter to the meal and a nice change from Tartare sauce.

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  1. Now this is an herb I've never cooked with. I'm not even sure I've tasted it, but I love the idea of this sauce with fish. Just fantastic.

  2. Thanks Kalyn - it's a really delicate herb and doesn't keep well once it's cut - shelf life is very short. It's not something I've used very often either but it works really well in this.

  3. Haalo, this is surely fantastic. I have Matt Moran's book but haven't tried anything out yet. This dish sounds wonderful, though... :) I will go hunting for fresh chervil just for this. Can I get it from Prahran market?

  4. Thanks Anh - you can find this at Prahran market at various stalls but it's most often found at Reliable Fruit and Vegies. You should just dive in and do something from Matt's book, there's some really lovely recipes there.

  5. I have made a link to your entry about chervil. This fragile and somewhat forgotten herb, I tried for medical reasons many years ago and guess what I found? Yes! A delicious herb.

  6. Thanks Karin - it is quite the gentle herb and does seem to be used quite a bit of medicinal reasons.

  7. Oh yum yum yum! This is one of my favourite ways to have crumbed fish, though unfortunately I usually can't be bothered to make the gribiche!

  8. Hi Y - the fish is good enough to have as is.

  9. yummo. these are all the kind of briny, sour flavours i adore. certainly one to try.

  10. Thanks Anna - hope you enjoy this.


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