Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Menu ideas and recipes for chervil, shrimp, mackerel, duck, basil, peas, rice and kale

Menu ideas and recipes for chervil, shrimp, mackerel, duck, basil, peas, rice and kale

A long awaited introduction to chervil—plus shrimp and mackerel ideas

When I opened my CSA bag last week, I found a bunch of herbs that looked like a cousin of parsley but had an anise-like aroma. What the deuce? I asked my farmer about them and she said, “Chervil. I knew you would appreciate it.” She’s right. For years, I’ve read about chervil but never saw it in any market. I made it the star of the show that night, sautéing some North Carolina shrimp with shallots and finishing them with lemon juice, butter and lots of chervil.

Some of the chervil remained for the next night’s mackerel. I lined the bottom of a baking dish with sliced shallots, fresh orange juice and lemon zest, put the fillets on top, seasoned them, then slid the dish in the oven. When the fish was done, I topped it with a mix of basil, chervil, parsley, orange zest and butter, and let it all melt together.

Menu ideas and recipes for chervil, shrimp, mackerel, duck, basil, peas, rice and kale

My first duck

On one of my trips to Mae Farm (the meat/dairy store) at the farmers market, I saw a whole duck from Dawnbreaker Farms in the case and decided to splurge. On Sunday, I watched a couple of videos then sort of followed this recipe for roast duck with potatoes, figs and rosemary—but used dried figs and added half an orange to the “stuffing.” The skin didn’t get quite as crackly as I wished but it was still darn good.

Fried brown rice and kale

I pulled out some of the cooked brown rice I stowed in the freezer and riffed off this fried brown rice with kale recipe. I didn’t want the recipe’s flavor profile in the dish so I substituted bacon, jalapeño and black pepper for the ginger, lime and turmeric. But the original version looks delicious, so I’ll return to it one of these days.

Menu ideas and recipes for chervil, shrimp, mackerel, duck, basil, peas, rice and kale

Pruning basil—a good excuse for pasta

My basil plants needed pruning so I made a big batch of whole wheat spaghetti with basil-pea pesto for lunch this week. Hopefully all the rain we’ve had won’t cause a mildew problem for the basil—they’re susceptible to that. In past years, I’ve lost all my basil plants midway through the season to mildew, so fingers crossed for many healthy harvests ahead.

Until next week, stay safe, stay well, take care.


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