Fines herbes usually includes equal parts of finely minced tarragon, chervil, chives and parsley. This classic combination is one of the most important seasoning mixes in French cooking. Like most herb and spice mixtures, it comes in many varieties. Many cooks add marjoram, basil or watercress and a few even use savory, dill, lovage or thyme for some dishes.
Most of the herbs included in this mix are delicate, and they tend to lose their flavor after long cooking times. Their subtle aroma works the best when added toward the end of the cooking process. These herbs can also lose much of their flavor when dried, so cooks should use fresh herbs for this mixture whenever possible.
Along with a subtle herb flavor, the bright green color of this classic herb mix gives foods visual interest. It makes a pretty contrast to egg dishes such as omelettes and scrambled eggs. It also pairs nicely with roasted or boiled potatoes and potato salad. Many classic French sauces include a variation of fines herbes, including herbed mayonaise, sauce aux fines herbes and cream sauces. Fines herbes complements seafood nicely, and a sprinkling of the mixture adds flavor and interest to simple pasta dishes.