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What Are Fines Herbes?
Fines Herbes is a classic French herb seasoning traditionally comprised of equal parts fresh French tarragon, parsley, chives, and chervil. In 1903, famed French chef Auguste Escoffier was the first to name the herb blend in writing, which was later confirmed by Julia Child who defined fines herbes as “a mixture of fresh parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil” for her American audience.
Cooking With Fines Herbes
Known for its delicate, bright, and fresh flavors, the fines herbes mixture is commonly used in mild flavored dishes like salads, egg dishes, and poultry recipes that won’t overpower its pleasantly subtle flavor. Fines herbes are typically added at the end of cooking, as excessive heat or cooking time can deplete their gentle aroma and flavor.
While some chefs customize their fines herbes mixture by adding additional subtle herbs like thyme, marjoram, and watercress, more aggressive herbs like rosemary, basil, and oregano aren’t suitable additions or substitutions.
3 More French Herb Mixtures
- Herbes de Provence: This strong Mediterranean herb blend, which originated in the south of France, is equally ubiquitous in French food as fines herbes and packs a more powerful, hearty flavor. While the recipe for herbes de provence is flexible, a traditional blend includes thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, and savory. Other possible additions include sage and lavender. Given its strong flavors, herbes de provence works well in hearty braised meat dishes, stews, rich pâtés, and pasta sauces.
- Bouquet Garni: With a name meaning “a bouquet for garnish,” this fresh herb mixture is typically tied together with a string or contained in a cheesecloth bag and added to simmering soups, stews, stocks, and roasts and removed before serving. While there is no set combination of herbs for a bouquet garni, many French chefs use a combination of fresh thyme, basil, parsley, and bay leaf. Other possible additions to a bouquet garni can include rosemary, chervil, tarragon, and savory. (Learn how Chef Thomas Keller prepares a bouquet garni in his MasterClass.)
- Pot Herbs: This flexible and flavorful herb mixture refers to a mix of herbs added to pots of simmering soups, broths, stews, and braised meats. A popular pot herb combination consists of bay leaves, parsley, chervil, chives, thyme, and marjoram. However, this mixture can be easily altered to include other fresh, herbaceous flavors. Pot herbs can either be added directly to the simmering liquid or contained within a cheesecloth.
10 Fines Herbes Recipe Ideas
- Chef Thomas Keller’s Omelette with Fines Herbes: Use Chef Keller’s techniques of refinement to create the perfect omelet, topped with beurre pommade, fines herbes, and finishing salt.
- Oeufs Brouillés: French scrambled eggs made with creme fraiche, butter, and minced fines herbes.
- Coq-au-Vin: A classic French poultry dish consisting of a whole chicken braised in a red wine sauce flavored with fines herbes, olive oil, onion, carrot, celery, lardons, and seasonings.
- Herb Vinaigrette: A bright vinaigrette that combines olive oil, white or red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, minced garlic, and fresh fines herbes.
- Remoulade: Mayonnaise transformed by the addition of capers, cornichons, fines herbes, shallots, and salt.
- Moules Marinieres with Fines Herbes: Mussels cooked in a buttery, white wine broth flavored with fines herbes.
- Herb and Cheese Soufflé: An airy, savory soufflé flavored with Parmesan and fontina cheeses and fines herbes.
- Pheasant Aux Fines Herbes: A traditional pheasant dish cooked in a buttery skillet with white wine, minced garlic, onion, and fresh fine herbes.
- Herb Crepes: A savory crepe batter consisting of flour, eggs, milk, salt, and chopped fines herbes, served with butter or scrambled eggs.
- Roasted Chicken with Fines Herbes: Skin-on chicken breast sautéed in olive oil and butter, baked until crispy, and dressed with pan drippings and fresh fines herbes.
Perfect Fines Herbes RecipeEMAIL RECIPE
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
Combine the chopped herbs in a bowl. Use at the end of cooking to achieve the most flavor, or freeze in ice-cube trays filled with water or chicken stock for later use.
Dried-herb variation: If utilizing dried herbs, combine the dried seasonings in an air-tight glass jar and store the seasoning blend in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months. Add the dried mixture towards the beginning of the cooking process, as the flavors will be concentrated and intensified.
Learn more cooking techniques in Chef Thomas Keller’s MasterClass.