Tarragon

Fresh Tarragon 

Commonly referred to as Estragon, French tarragon is tart with aromatic properties reminiscent of anise. Used predominantly in French and European cooking, it lends itself particularly well to poultry, fish and egg dishes. One of the main components of Béarnaise sauce, tarragon can also be used in other white sauces. Try it in your next lasagne.

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) has long, thin, tender, dark green leaves and a sweet aromatic flavour combining elements of fennel seeds, anise, and liquorice. Tarragon is popularly linked to dragons, perhaps because of its coiled, serpentine root system and the widespread belief that tarragon could not only ward off serpents and dragons but also heal snake bites.

There’s some confusion about tarragon because the most aromatic cultivar, French tarragon (A. dracunculus var. sativa), is difficult to find and grow, while the more common Russian tarragon (A. dracunculus), often sold to home gardeners, has little flavour. Supermarkets usually sell French tarragon. This sweetly spicy herb is a special favourite in France. It is well suited to chicken, eggs, or mushroom dishes. Tarragon sprigs are commonly used to flavour white wine vinegar.

Other Names
Ai hao (Chinese); dragoncello (Italian); drakebloed (Dutch); drakontio or tarankon (Greek); estragão (Portuguese); estragon or herbe dragonne (French); estragon (Russian); estragon or tarragona (Spanish); tarhon (Romanian); tarhun or tuzla otu (Turkish); tarkhun (Arabic).
Season
Tarragon is at its best in spring. Later in the season, when the weather gets hot, tarragon bleaches out or spoils quickly.
Purchase and Avoid
Dried Tarragon 
Fresh tarragon is best, but if you use dried, make sure its colour and aroma haven’t faded.
Storage
Tarragon is quite tender and freezes easily, so store it in the warmest part of the refrigerator, generally on the top shelf, or place in a vase of water, as for a bouquet of flowers.
Culinary Uses
Food Affinities
  • asparagus

  • beef

  • carrot

  • cauliflower

  • chicken

  • fish

  • lamb

  • mayonnaise

  • mushroom

  • mustard

  • olive oil

  • shrimp

  • sour cream

  • tomato

  • vinaigrettes

Category: Spices and Herbs

Sub Category: Herb