Cooking with Tarragon

It amazes me that half the people I meet have never tried tarragon. IMHO it is one of the greatest herbs on earth.

Here is one of my favourite recipes:

Light & Easy Béarnaise Sauce

1 tbsp lemon juice 15 mL
1 tbsp minced onion 15 mL
4 sprigs fresh tarragon, chopped (or 1/2 tsp/ 2 mL dried) 4
1/2 cup Hellmann’s Real or Hellmann’s 1/2 The Fat 125 mL
1/2 cup milk 125 mL
1 tsp Dijon mustard 5 mL
1/4 tsp salt 1 mL
Pinch pepper

In small saucepan over medium-low heat, combine lemon juice with onion and tarragon. Simmer 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add mayonnaise, milk, Dijon, salt and pepper. Whisk until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or just until hot (do not boil). Whisk until smooth. Serve warm with steaks, roast beef, meat loaf, cutlets or chops. Also great with chicken or fish. Makes 1 cup (250 mL) Serves 4-6

I agree. Here is one of my favorites as well.

Brandied Tarragon Creamed Chicken

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breast
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
1/4 cup calvados or applejack brandy
6 large white mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and dredge chicken lightly in flour and shake off any excess. Brown chicken 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove chicken and reduce heat a little and melt in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Saute the shallots 3 minutes until soft but not browned. Remove pan from the heat, add the brandy and ignite with a long kitchen match until the flame subsides. Return pan to the heat, add mushrooms and cook 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine and reduce 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in cream and tarragon and slide chicken back into the pan. Reduce heat to low and simmer 8 to10 minutes. Serve over brown rice

Thanks, sounds yummy! Here is another favorite, no tarragon but the marsala is another unique flavor that is unfamiliar to a lot of folks.

Chicken Marsala

• 4 boneless chicken breasts
• 1/2 cup all purpose flour
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 cups mushrooms
• 1 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/2 cup Marsala wine
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 1-2 sprigs fresh flat-leafed parsley
Flatten the chicken breasts between two pieces of waxed paper with a meat pounder until thin. If you’re not a gadget person like myself and don’t own every kitchen utensil available including a meat pounder, try using the edge of a can of soup or a small sauté pan.
It’s important that you pound the breasts to an equal thickness. This is so they cook evenly and one breast doesn’t cook faster then another.
Slice the mushrooms into thin slices and finely chop the parsley.
Add the butter to a sauté pan, melt over medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook until lightly browned. It’s hard to tell you exactly how long this will take since all stovetops are not alike. Depending on whether you are using a gas or electric or what make or model, will make a difference. On my household gas stove, it takes 8 - 12 minutes, but on my mom’s electric stove, it takes longer. Remove the mushrooms and reserve.
Add the oil to the pan and up the heat a little. I don’t advise cooking at high until you get comfortable cooking at high heat. It means working a little faster and watching a little closer but you want the pan to be hot to sauté the breasts properly. To learn more about the technique of sautéing, check out Cooking Techniques.
While the oil is heating up, dredge each chicken breast in flour. What I like to do is put the flour in a shallow soup bowl or on a plate and using one hand, dip each breast into the flour and add to the pan.
Sauté the breasts for approximately 1-2 minute each side. Remember the chicken breasts will cook faster because they are thinner. If you are preparing more than four breasts, it’s important not to crowd the pan so they sauté and do not steam. Better to cook in batches than trying to cook them all at once.
Remove the breasts from the pan, reserve on a platter, and cover with tin foil to keep warm.
Add the Marsala wine to the pan to deglaze, scraping the small bits of chicken stuck to the pan. (Remember, Marsala is a wine and contains alcohol so be careful when adding it to a hot pan. Better to remove the pan from the heat when deglazing any pan with wine.) Simmer until slightly reduced, approximately 2 minutes, again depending on your stovetop.
Add the reserved mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and parsley.
Plate the chicken breasts along with your sides (I served this with rice) and top with sauce.

Tarragon is one of those herbs that you have to be careful and not use too much. It can be overpowering.

I have a jar of dried tarragon that I’ve never used. I’m not sure “how” to use it, in other words, what foods does it go with best, how much to use? I really don’t like wasting food, so I’ve hesitated using the tarragon because I don’t want to throw out a dish because of one ingredient. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve even eaten a dish in a restaurant that had tarragon in it.

I would suggest tasting the tarragon and then decide if you like the flavor before adding it to any foods.

LOL…that must have been a heck of a lot of tarragon. I use it sparingly. And when I use it I definitely do not pack it in…if the recipe calls for a tbsp, I don’t use a true tbsp worth. It is definitely a powerful herb, but I love it.

Thanks for the suggestions. Tarragon might me the missing ingredient when I make tartar sauce, it’s good, but always seems to need a little “something.” I’m now tempted to cook some shrimp this weekend just so I can try my hand at tartar sauce with a smidge of tarragon.
I love learning new things about food!

Stick with us kid - and we’ll teach you all kinds of tricks (and maybe some bad habits!) LOL

What I would recommend is you make a scrambled egg and put a pinch or two of tarragon in as you beat the eggs. Then cook and taste. See if you like it. If not, you’ve only lost one egg and a little cooking oil or butter. You can try this same technique with just about any herb.