Tarragon

tarragonTarragon is one of those herbs that we hardly ever think of using until we come across a recipe that specifically calls for it. We’ve even grown tarragon in our herb garden, only to reach the end of the summer without hardly touching it! Its licorice-like flavor can definitely make using tarragon a little tricky.

How do you use tarragon in your cooking?    Here are few ideas you can try today.

Since the leaves are so tender, they can be mixed in with other greens for salads or sprinkled over a finished dish much like parsley. The anise flavor goes well in tomato dishes, so we can see using it in tomato-based soups, or in tomato sauces for pasta. Used sparingly, tarragon makes a nice seasoning for fish and seafood dishes, or with eggs.

Green Goddess Salad Dressing

There are definite similarities to Ranch Dressing, but Green Goddess is creamier and more herbal, with generous amounts of chives, tarragon, and parsley.

  • 1/4 cup fresh chives or green onions (packed into measuring cup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon (packed into measuring cup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley (packed into measuring cup)
  • 1 T fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 T white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. anchovy paste (or more, depending on how much you like anchovies)
  • 1 C mayo 
  • 1/2 C sour cream 
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste

(I used a food processor to make this, but if you don’t have one you can finely chop the herbs with a chef’s knife and then stir the ingredients together in a bowl.)   Measure 1/4 cup each of chives (or green onions), tarragon, and parsley, and add to food processor. Pulse processor until the fresh herbs are finely chopped, then add lemon juice, white wine vinegar, and anchovy paste (or canned anchovies) and pulse a few times more.   Add mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, and freshly-ground black pepper and run the food processor about 20-30 seconds, or until ingredients are well combined. Chill at least a few hours before serving.  This will keep in the fridge for at least a week, although it probably won’t stay around for that long!

Fresh Tarragon Potato Salad

Redolent with fresh garlic and tarragon, this unusual blend adds a touch of country French to an American picnic table. Substitute fresh dill or cilantro if you don’t like tarragon.

• 4 large russet potatoes
• Apple cider vinegar
• 1 batch Garlic Mayonnaise, or to taste (recipe below)
• 1/3 to 1/2 cup whole fresh tarragon leaves, stripped from stems
• 1 red onion or several scallions, chopped
• Salt and pepper, to taste

Cook and peel the potatoes. Dice them when they’re nearly cooled and douse them liberally with apple cider vinegar. (Pouring on vinegar while the potatoes are still warm allows the vinegar to soak in.)   Add Garlic Mayo, fresh tarragon, chopped onion and salt and pepper.  Mix thoroughly and refrigerate over-night to allow flavors to blend.

Garlic Mayo Recipe:  Making mayonnaise in a food processor, blender or with a handheld immersion blender is easy.  Once you’ve had homemade, you’ll never go back to the store-bought stuff.

• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 large egg
• 4 or more cloves garlic, pressed
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 1½ cups light vegetable or olive oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

Place vinegar, egg, pressed garlic and mustard in a food-processor bowl.  With the machine running, slowly pour the oil in a steady stream through the top. Although it defies logic, the more oil you add, the thicker the mayo becomes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Tarragon Sauteed Carrots

Sautéed Carrots with Tarragon Recipe

  • Sliced carrots
  • Olive oil
  • Butter, a dollop
  • Fresh tarragon leaves
  • Salt, to taste

Add sliced carrots to a hot pan with a little olive oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until tender-crisp.  Add a dollop of butter and plenty of fresh tarragon leaves, and season to taste with salt.

Green Goddess Chicken Wraps

Green Goddess Chicken Wraps

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped chives
  • 4 tablespoons roughly chopped tarragon
  • 2 teaspoons capers (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups shredded skinned rotisserie chicken
  • 4 whole-wheat burrito-size tortillas (11 1/2 to 12 in. wide)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 4 thin slices muenster or mozzerella cheese, cut in half
  • 4 ounces baby spinach

Make dressing: In a food processor, whirl garlic until finely chopped. Add lemon juice, herbs, capers, vinegar, mayonnaise, sour cream, and salt and whirl until well blended.  Make wraps: In a medium bowl, toss chicken with about 3/4 cup dressing until evenly coated.  Lay tortillas flat on a work surface. Arrange equal portions of chicken down the center of each. Evenly top chicken with bell pepper, mushrooms, cheese, and spinach, then drizzle 1 tbsp. more dressing over each wrap’s filling (save the remaining dressing for another use). Fold tortillas over short sides of filling, then roll up, starting from long side of filling.

Tarragon-Mustard Deviled Eggs

  • 6-8 hard boiled eggs 
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon, plus a bit more for garnish
  • 1 tsp. white wine or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 T mayo 
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard

While eggs are cooling, mash or blend together the tarragon and vinegar. Mix in mayo and Dijon mustard, and let this mixture sit while the eggs are cooling.   When eggs are cooled, carefully cut in half lengthwise and remove yolks to a bowl.  Mash yolks well with a fork, then mix in tarragon/mustard/mayo mixture. You can fill the eggs with a spoon, or put this mixture in a small plastic bag, cut off one corner, and squeeze the yolk mixture into the egg white halves as shown above.   Garnish finished eggs with additional chopped fresh tarragon if desired. 

Tarragon Chicken Saladimg_8757

  • 4 split chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
  • Good-quality olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4-5 ribs celery, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 30-40 green seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 4-5 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup good mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 375° F. Place chicken breasts, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Rub chicken with a few tablespoons olive oil and season with generous amounts of salt and pepper. Roast for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Set aside until it is cool enough to handle. Remove skin and bones, and discard. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of pan drippings. Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces and place in medium bowl. Add reserved pan juices, celery, grapes, tarragon, lemon juice and mayo and stir to combine. Add salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper to taste. Ed loves this served while still warm but it is also delicious cold.

Grilled Chicken with Tarragon-Mustard Marinade

(Makes 4 servings but can easily be doubled)

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 T chopped fresh tarragon 
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken breasts. Cut small crosswise slits down the length of each piece of chicken, being careful not to cut too deep.

Put fresh tarragon into mini-processor and chop very finely. Add mustard, lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil and blend together a few seconds. (If you don’t have a food processor or mini-processor, you can chop the tarragon with a large chef’s knife and then whisk the marinade ingredients together.)  Put chicken into Ziploc bag or flat plastic container with a snap on lid and pour marinade ingredients over. Let marinate in refrigerator 6-8 hours.

To cook, spray gas or charcoal grill with non-stick spray, then preheat grill to high.  Let chicken come to room temperature while grill heats.  Cook about 4 more minutes on first side then turn and cook 6-8 minutes on second side. Chicken is done when it feels firm, but not hard to the touch, and is well browned. Actual cooking time will vary depending on grill temperature.  Serve hot.

Tarragon Chicken Fricassee

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup white wine or apple cider
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 2 egg yolks 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat two tablespoons of butter in a large braising pan over medium to medium-high heat. Coat each chicken piece in flour, tapping to remove excess, and add to the pan. Generously season the pieces with salt and pepper. Cook, flipping occasionally, until the chicken is lightly golden but not browned, about 8 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside.  Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in the pan. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to high, pour in the wine and cook until reduced by half. Add the stock, chicken pieces, and tarragon sprigs and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is very tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove the chicken to a serving platter and tent with aluminum foil.   Increase the heat to high and reduce the cooking liquid by half; then turn heat to low. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cream. Whisk a few tablespoons of the hot chicken liquid into the egg yolk mixture, then pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Stir the minced tarragon and lemon juice into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with egg noodles or cooked white rice. Garnish with additional tarragon leaves, if desired.