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Tarragon Ideas?

In this weird weather year in N. Cal, we have almost no fruit (except buckets of figs), just a few tomatoes and the green beans haven't even started yet. BUT the herbs are huge and lush, especially the lemon balm and tarragon. I don't cook with tarragon much, occasionally in vinaigrette for spinach, but Friday night stuffed a chicken with a big bunch plus garlic and lemon. I would normally have used thyme or sage or rosemary for that. The tarragon perfumed the meat beautifully and the juices made a delectable sauce. I was amazed and want to use more of it. How do you use tarragon?

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  1. great with chix as you know, also fish. Compound butters for either or for veg.

    1. I love bernaise sauce, I'll spread that on almost anything and you might also make up your own tarragon vinegar. Stuff well rinsed and blotted dry tarragon into decorative bottles with good tight stoppers or corks. Fill each bottle with warm good white wine vinegar and put it away in a cool dry spot until ready to use or to give as gifts at the holidays. You cab make all sorts of infused vinegars or herbed jellies too.

      I have jelly jars just waiting for me to fill with basil jelly and others. They are pretty, delicious and wonderful as a condiment with roasted meats and not commonly found on store shelves.

      Oh, another thought for tarragon, if you can get teeny tiny cucumbers at a farmers market you could make those lovely French cornichons which can be so expensive to buy.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Candy

        Thanks everyone, keep them coming. Yes, vinegar. And I love the idea of tarragon pickles. We have a cornichon plant but have had a pathetic 3 cucumbers from it this year. I suppose I could use my usual dill pickle recipe, substituting tarragon for dill? Plus I think I'd go easy on the usual hot chiles.

        1. re: Junie D

          You should consider pickling other veggies too like baby carrots, radishes, cauliflower, etc. in tarragon. I had some pickled (or marinated?) baby carrots at an SF restaurant recently, and the subtle tarragon flavor was wonderful!

          I agree w/ Candy on Bernaise...tastes great w/ so many things. Recently had it at a restaurant paired w/ halibut, but wild salmon would be great. Would also be nice w/ poached eggs.

          I agree that tarragon and chicken were made for each other. Put in chicken salad or a chicken stew (like the chicken Riesling from Balthazar that I've posted on).

          Tarragon is one of my all-time favorite herbs!! Let us know if you come across any interesting uses...

        2. re: Candy

          Please tell me more about basil jelly... :)

        3. I recantly had a great spread/dip at a newer place in town that had a mystery taste. It was a bean dip puree with a tad of cumin and some olive oil and, we finally desided, terrago. It made all the diff'- a wonderful light anise undertone. I liked it better than a hummus. Next time I will make it with edamame.

          1. I sprinkle it on top of cooked carrots and a little butter.

            Roasted chicken

            A little bit chopped into lobster salad.

            1. The flavor really goes well with artichokes.

              1. Tarragon is one of my favorite herbs...here's another idea for it with chicken AND tomatoes which it pairs with nicely too.. one of our favorite Epicurious recipes...Chicken Louisa...link below:


                1. my standard omelet filling is roasted tomato, with fried onion and mushrooms and tarragon. the tarragon transforms it.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: rose water

                    Yes, tarragon is always in my omelettes. I am lazy and just throw in brie or any moldy creamy cheese...lots of butter...

                    1. re: kenito799

                      i'm perusing this thread again because i've been using tarragon a lot recently, and i love it.

                      had it in my frittata this morning. mmm. there's a picture at:

                      this was inspired by Carb Lover's gorgeous frittata on this old, informative frittata thread:

                      i also had tarragon last week in a salad with roasted beets, toasted hazelnuts and gorgonzola. delightful licorice-y flavor, which contrasted nicely with the beets.

                  2. Chicken, definitely. Also good in tuna salad, egg salad, potato salad!

                    Dry it and make your own fine herbes mixture. Finely chop it and mix it with butter, salt, and pepper, spread it on corn on the cob, sprinkle some lime juice over the cob, pull the husks back up and grill the corn - divine!

                    It's also great on fish - a compound butter using tarragon makes a nice topping.

                    1. The compund butter is also good over steak, or pureed celery root soup.

                      1. Jasper White is a well known local chef in Boston, he uses tarragon for lobster rolls (not a large amount, just a hint) - this was new for me and is very good.

                        Since you're in CA I'll mention that lobster rolls here are made with chilled fresh boiled lobster meat, mayo, some people add celery, and toasted "top-opening" hot dog rolls. Since moving to Bosoton I've learned that lobster rolls in CT are made with hot lobster and melted butter, and people in CT call the non-CT version "cold lobster salad" rolls.

                        Ok, well probably more info than you really wanted. Have fun.

                        1. I wonder if anyone would have any ideas of making tarragon soda. I bought a bottle at a Russian store and it was really very refreshing.

                          I know tarragon tea is sold, though I've never tried it. I wonder if you could make tea out of fresh leaves. Sometimes I do that with fresh mint.

                          In exchange for any ideas on how to make home-made tarragon soda, I offer this recipe I found trying to google a recipe for tarragon soda. It sounds good.

                          Tarragon Scented Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate Cake


                          1. For tarragon soda, I'd imagine you'd make a simple syrup and steep tarragon leaves in it for a half hour or so (taste the syrup; you want it to pick up the herb's flavor, but you don't want it to go too long and become bitter), then strain. Keep the syrup in a jar in the fridge, then make soda by the glass by combining your syrup with seltzer to taste.

                            I love this tarragon vinaigrette, which I first made after tasting something similae at two restaurants years ago: olive oil, white wine vinegar, a little dijon mustard, a little minced garlic, minced tarragon, salt and pepper, and honey to taste. I most often use it on a fall or winter salad with pears and maybe dried cranberries or nuts, but it certainly works well with summery veggies that complement that flavors of tarragon and the bit of sweetness from the honey - fennel, bitter salad greens, goat, feta, or blue cheese, etc.

                            1. Tarragon butter--with or without finely minced shallots--freezes beautifully. You roast a chicken or grill a salmon filet or pan-sear a rib eye steak, and there it is, the quick and easy substitute for Sauce BĂ©arnaise which really doesn't keep, as far as I know.

                              1. I also recommend a compound butter. This is the one we love (Bearnaise Butter from the Gourmet Cookbook):


                                Just made a few batches a few weeks ago for the freezer. Excellent over steaks, chicken, fish, or on burgers.

                                1. I make focaccia and top it with tarragon, sea salt and good olive oil. The bread gets eaten quickly!

                                  1. Terragon goes beautifully with Lobster. When I make lobster salad, I use a terragon vinagrette raither than anything mayo based.

                                    1. Put several stems into a bottle of good quality vodka and keep for at least one week: not only will it taste wonderful, but the bottle will look absolutely lovely.