Chervil is one of those herbs that has grown in Britain for hundreds of years but has largely disappeared from our shelves. Well known to Elizabethan cooks, it has so many culinary uses. It complements eggs, chicken, fish and potato dishes as well as Summer vegetables as in this salad. It’s easy to grow, looks very pretty with its fine, lacy leaves and is said to have restorative properties.

A fresh, tangy and healthy Summer salad with the delicate flavour of chervil – sweet, aniseedy and slightly nutty all at the same time. This salad is great on its own or as part of a picnic spread.


500g of podded broad beans (if fresh you need about 1kg of beans in their pods but small frozen broad beans work well too)

A handful of chervil

½ lemon, zest and juice

20ml cold pressed rapeseed oil

150g of hard ewe’s or goat’s cheese (check it’s rennet-free if you’re vegetarian)

Season to taste


Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Tip the podded beans in and boil for 2 or 3 minutes until tender but still with bite. Drain under cold water until cool enough to handle. Pop the  beans out of their skins. You don’t have to if you’re in a rush but skinless beans absorb flavours better and are a dazzling bright green.

Wash and finely chop the chervil. Scatter onto the beans.

In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon juice, zest and salt and pepper to taste. Tip in the rapeseed oil and whisk together. Pour it over the beans and chervil and mix well.

Shave your ewe’s or goat’s cheese (I usually do this with a veg peeler) onto the top. 

You don’t need much, the flavours are so good. That’s it. Or if you prefer a vegan version, with no cheese or vegan cheese, it’s still delicious.