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tarragon tips?

rose water May 30, 2007 12:40 PM

I’m in Armenia right now, where the produce is incredible, and I bought about a kilo of tarragon for 30 cents (no choice but to buy in vast quantities...) It's flavorful, potent stuff.

So, besides omlettes, what tarragon preparations (preferably which use lots) do you recommend?

  1. Quine May 30, 2007 12:50 PM

    Well, tarragon is a rather strong (to me) herb, so I would see it easily becoming too much in a dish. I suggest various forms of preserving it. Dry it, make vinegar and perhaps flavor an oil with it. Oh yes, an tarragon mayo is very nice to have in the summer and I have seen tarragon mustards.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quine
      BobB May 30, 2007 01:29 PM

      Have you ever tried fresh tarragon? I too find the dried stuff overpowering (a little pinch is plenty in an omelet), but was quite surprised to find the fresh leaves much milder, with an almost anise-like flavor.

      1. re: BobB
        Quine May 30, 2007 01:33 PM

        Ah Yup. I always chose fresh or dried. But still a kilo is a huge amount of any herb.

    2. monavano May 30, 2007 12:50 PM

      Tarragon pairs beautifully with chicken. Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken breasts in a creamy tarragon sauce....
      Make Tarragon vinegar. In fact you should preserve it in white wine vinegar
      Grilled lamb with mustard tarragon marinade
      It also pairs well with shellfish and salmon
      It's excellent in sauces from bernaise to tartar
      Put some in your scrambled eggs
      Pair with fines herbs, not strong aromatics like rosemary, sage and thyme

      3 Replies
      1. re: monavano
        s
        soupkitten May 30, 2007 01:26 PM

        yup, chicken with a tarragon cream sauce would be among my favorites, a classic.

        i like mussels with white wine & tarragon as well, & can't go wrong with any egg/tarragon preparation. tarragon vinegar is a great tip to use the herb up!

        1. re: soupkitten
          v
          Val May 30, 2007 01:33 PM

          Me too, me too...chicken is great with it...here's a really easy and delicious recipe from epicurious which also uses fresh plum tomatoes which you will probably have access to since you said the produce is amazing, Chicken Louisa:

          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

        2. re: monavano
          MMRuth May 31, 2007 05:17 AM

          I love tarragon in a simple chicken salad. It's also surprising nice with shrimp - I do a marinade and then grill/broil them.

        3. DanaB May 30, 2007 12:54 PM

          The recipe linked below, from Gourmet Magazine, for "Poached Salmon with Tarragon Sauce and Fingerling Potatoes," is excellent. The tarragon sauce is to die for, and works equally well with fish, potatoes, and chicken.

          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

          If you have Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, her recipe for Chicken with Tarragon is really delicious as well.

          1. m
            mojoeater May 30, 2007 01:01 PM

            Tarragon is also great with pork. I like to take pork chops, brown them in butter, remove and add to the pan orange juice, lemon juice, honey, tarragon, and maybe a little more butter depending on how much fat the chops released (all amounts according to taste). Once the sauce thickens a little, put the chops back in to finish cooking to your desired doneness. Serve with buttered noodles or mashed/roasted potatoes and roasted green beans. Easy and delicious.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mojoeater
              starlady May 30, 2007 02:27 PM

              Took the words right out of my mouth Mojo!

              Also tarragon is great with sauted shrooms with a touch of goat cheese on really good bread.

              1. re: starlady
                foxy fairy May 31, 2007 02:08 PM

                mmmm I want to make that right now! fantastic idea. I like to add a touch of cream and I usually add thyme when I do mushrooms this way but I will definitely check it out next time I buy tarragon!*

            2. n
              Nikiforos May 30, 2007 01:40 PM

              You could infuse oil--Thomas Keller's technique in TFL cookbook works well. I think it will last refridgerated for a month. Truth is, a little goes a long way, so I kilo is quite a bit to work with. Bearnaise sauce is good on fish, chicken, and, while I typically don't adulter steak, it complements steak really well.

              1. n
                Nikiforos May 30, 2007 01:41 PM

                Or spike hooch with it, maybe Vodka--make like a nice Ouzo!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Nikiforos
                  s
                  smartie May 30, 2007 02:21 PM

                  creamy mushroom and tarragon soup is delicious.

                  1. re: Nikiforos
                    barleywino May 31, 2007 03:14 PM

                    Crush (in Seattle) makes a campari/grapefruit/vodka/bitters drink with tarragon foam on top

                  2. d
                    dhedges53 May 30, 2007 02:32 PM

                    Bernaise sauce, and a couple of big steaks.

                    1. r
                      rockycat May 31, 2007 06:58 AM

                      Tarragon vinaigrette or just chop up the tarragon and some other herbs (or not) directly into your salad.

                      1. l
                        Louise May 31, 2007 12:27 PM

                        Tarragon is also good with artichokes.

                        1. foxy fairy May 31, 2007 02:15 PM

                          I wonder if tarragon would work in a savory scone or shortbread or biscuit? I don't know how it bakes, but that would give you some variety from the savory uses. How about this thread on herb desserts? Maybe you could get your hands on that tarragon-infused strawberry shortcake mentioned here (sounds divine).

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/40406...

                          I must say tarragon chicken salad is just otherworldly, and the epicurious recipe I use dresses the chicken very simply in mayonaisse and tarragon vinegar, shallots and fresh tarragon, celery and red grapes. Mmmmm. Let it sit overnight for optimal flavor, and you might try adding in a spoon of something sweet. I added homemade rhubarb chutney to mine and I can't stop eating it!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: foxy fairy
                            cowgirlinthesand May 31, 2007 04:29 PM

                            I'm with you foxy! My favorite chicken salad is with fresh tarragon and red grapes - celery and mayo too, but I use a generous spoon of good dijon mustard in mine.
                            Heaven!!!!

                          2. LulusMom May 31, 2007 03:02 PM

                            I do love chicken roasted with tarragon, and a bit tossed in with scrambled eggs. Another very odd sounding, but delicious, recipe is one I got from either Bon Ap. or Gourmet for cantaloupe carpaccio. Surprisingly nice, and really a great appetizer on a hot summer day. Here's the link: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: LulusMom
                              MMRuth May 31, 2007 03:06 PM

                              I'd forgotten about scrambled eggs - delicious with some chopped up tarragon and chives.

                            2. v
                              Val May 31, 2007 04:13 PM

                              Okay, here's another that just floored us...I don't make it too often because of the heavy cream...it's a Wolfgang Puck recipe for Shrimp with Chardonnay Dijon Cream...it is PERFECTION on a plate with tarragon instead of parsley and such an easy recipe:

                              http://www.finerkitchens.com/swap/for...

                              1. Emme Jun 1, 2007 12:54 AM

                                Sear salted and peppered scallops in a mixture of butter and olive oil. Remove from pan when just under-done. De-glaze the pan with lemon juice. Add tarragon and a little cream. Return scallops to pan and heat through coating with reduction/sauce. Serve with steamed/roasted asparagus.

                                1. a
                                  Agrayf Jun 1, 2007 10:25 AM

                                  101cookbooks had a good recipe recently with tarragon, pistachios, and greek yogurt:
                                  http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/...
                                  I didn't love the final product warm nearly as much as I loved the leftovers cold mixed with some shredded chicken. It's a standby now in our apt. for sandwiches or a dip. Delicious!

                                  1. dpnpt Jun 1, 2007 11:02 AM

                                    Love the fresh, not the dried. Try a pizza with fresh tarragon,grilled zucchini, mozzarella. Yum

                                    1. k
                                      kate used to be 50 Jun 1, 2007 12:24 PM

                                      I mix tarragon with a quarter stick of butter and freeze it. It's great to just slice off and use for everything you can think of (baked potatoes, scrambled eggs, pasta.....)

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: kate used to be 50
                                        n
                                        Nikiforos Jun 1, 2007 01:56 PM

                                        Good call.

                                        1. re: Nikiforos
                                          k
                                          kate used to be 50 Jun 2, 2007 07:59 AM

                                          Thanks. I also do this with sage and chives

                                          1. re: kate used to be 50
                                            foxy fairy Jun 2, 2007 10:43 AM

                                            Can't wait to try it. How much tarragon per stick of butter? Sometimes I go crazy throwing in way too much when I have fresh herbs, so if you can guide me that would be great. A couple of teaspoons? That seems conservative. I love this idea because when I buy tarragon for chicken salad I always end up with a few extra sprigs. :) Now I'll have that luscious-sounding butter!

                                            1. re: foxy fairy
                                              k
                                              kate used to be 50 Jun 3, 2007 09:20 AM

                                              I would use whatever you think will give you the taste you are looking for. Tarragon is one of those subjective tastes. Some like it, some don't.

                                              Personally, I start with throwing in a hand full and mixing it up. If I don't see enough green, I throw in some more.

                                              Enjoy!

                                      2. steinpilz Jun 3, 2007 10:29 AM

                                        Tarragon is great to add in small amounts to mayo in lobster rolls. I learned this at Jasper White's restaurants here in Boston. Don't know what to do with large amounts, maybe for large amounts of some summer punch?

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