A common fines herbes blend includes tarragon, chervil, parsley and chives. Other herbs such as coriander, thyme, marjoram, basil and dill may be used as well. The herbs are minced very fine, so that they will be almost invisible in the final dish. Fines herbes are also typically added at the very end of the cooking process, as they will lose potency as they are heated.
This combination of herbs is notably used in Mediterranean cuisine and is a staple in French cuisine.
A wide range of French dishes call for fines herbes. Since different cooks have different definitions of “fines herbes,” when using a cookbook it is an excellent idea to read the section on seasonings carefully. Many cooks will give a general recipe for fines herbes to work with, including individual additions in the relevant recipes.
Fines herbes can be used in everything from omelette’s to roast meats as well as baked fish dishes, soups, salad dressings or even just sprinkled over; one can imagine that they vary widely.
Since the herbs are used fresh, they impart a fresh, garden flavour to the finished dish. Used in equal amounts of each. They also tend to have a small hint of bitterness, which often compliments the layers of flavour in the food. As the herbs are chopped so finely, they are almost smelled rather than tasted. The fine cut of the herbs also ensures even distribution, so that one do not encounter a sudden change in seasoning.
Dried fines herbes always widely available in fresh food markets, but for a real treat, make your own using fresh herbs. The herb mixture is wonderful to flavour sauces, chicken and meat dishes and sauteed vegetables.