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Jun 22, 2013 09:52 PM

Fresh Tarragon Revelation

I bought a bunch of a fresh herb not knowing what it was. When I got home I figured out via the Internet that I had some fresh tarragon on my hands.
Baked chicken on a bed of the herb mixed with fresh spinach, onion and garlic, topped with a splash of red wine. Wow!
I haven't been super fond of the dry stuff when I've had it but this fresh tarragon is something else.
Do you have any recipes that use it in chicken dishes, salads or sides?

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  1. I can't make chicken salad without it now, I love it. It pairs extremely well with mustard. It's also extremely easy to grow if you buy a starter plant (apparently its difficult from seed.)

    6 Replies
      1. re: almond tree

        I make chicken salad with homemade mayo, tons of chopped tarragon, salt and lemon juice. I can't think of anything that would make it better.

        I just bought more tarragon plants at the nursery today, since I keep using the two I bought originally. As you've discovered, it's fantastic with poultry -- use it with salt to prep a chicken for roasting. It's also wonderful in scrambled eggs.

        It's my favorite herb, no contest.

        1. re: JonParker

          My introduction to tarragon was courtesy of Whole Foods about 15 years ago in the form of a tarragon chicken salad. All I remember is it was chunks of chicken, probably a mix of mayo and sour cream, and split grapes. And tarragon of course. Man I loved that stuff. I have it in the back of my mind to try to recreate it at some point. Distinct tarragon flavor and the grapes really worked with it. It was great.

        2. re: almond tree

          What I make it with depends on what I have around- green apples or dried cranberries (lots of people use grapes,) chopped almonds, red onion or green onions, homemade mayo, chicken, and lots of tarragon.

          1. re: weezieduzzit

            Sounds good. I was wondering most about the dressing -- whether it was mayonnaise based or oil & vinegar based.
            I have some not-quite-as-ripe-as-I-would-like figs I bought. Maybe I'll cut them up & use them as the fruit in this salad.

        3. re: weezieduzzit

          Tarragon is a part of the traditional cheese and vegetable plate in Persian cooking. White cheese (similar to feta), fresh mint, fresh tarragon, radishes, walnuts, tomato, green onions, and pita.

        4. I make this Poulet au Vinaigre a la Delia Smith over and over again for dinner parties or cold Sunday nights - it is a completely perfect recipe, aromatic, comforting and so delicious!!!

          1. My basic uses for tarragon are roast chicken: stuff a handful in the cavity with a lemon cut in two and roast; make tarragon butter and rub that on the chicken flesh under the skin and over the skin, then roast or grill; in a chicken marinade for grilling of olive oil, white wine, dijon mustard and tarragon. And in salads: just throw in a bunch of the leaves with other greens and herbs. Tarragon adds a delicious note to a green salad, especially when dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

            Finally a classic chicken braise/fricassee is poulet a l'estragon, a bit of work but completely delicious:


            2 Replies
            1. re: janniecooks

              Last week I made a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice + zest, and chopped tarragon. It was delicious on a spinach salad, and even better on a pasta salad.

              One note. I'm a firm believer in seasoning the salad, not the dressing. Put salt & pepper on your greens/pasta first, then add dressing.

              1. re: JonParker

                I use this same vinaigrette, with the addition of finely chopped shallots and grainy Dijon, for my version of salade Nicoise.

            2. And if you decide to grow your own I have found that in hot climates (I currently live in Austin) tarragon is very hard to keep alive, but Mexican mint marigold is a good substitute and heat tolerant. I love it in a white wine vinaigrette and in mayonnaise.

              6 Replies
              1. re: tim irvine

                Hmm .. sounds worth a try - if I can find the Mexican mint marigold to begin with. I definitely live in a hot climate.
                Do you grow it from seed or seedlings?

                1. re: almond tree

                  I got the little plants at my local nursery.

                  1. re: almond tree

                    Tim's spot on. Put a sprig or two (tarragon I mean, but maybe Mex mint marigold would work too) into a bottle of white wine vinegar, push in two or three cloves of garlic and leave for a couple of weeks (lasts for ages, actually). Use this to make vinaigrette using no more than one vinegar to six EVO, plus s&p. Perfect on a plain green salad.

                    1. re: Robin Joy

                      I learned on CH that putting garlic (and other things) in oil and storing can cause botulism. For real. So make only enough to use quickly.


                      1. re: c oliver

                        True, but it's no risk to put garlic in vinegar, as Robin Joy is suggesting. Its acid is a preservative (which is why those bottled crushed garlic products include citric acid or similar).

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          What an idiot I am :) I didn't read the post correctly. Thanks.

                2. Thanks for all the suggestions. I just finished the last little bit of the original chicken dish, and think that tarragon may be my new "try it with everything" herb. Coriander served in that role for quite a few years, but somehow the romance has lost its luster.