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French Tarragon Triumphs

 

Who started the rumor; French tarragon doesn’t do well in our Zone 8 climate?  Well, it certainly wasn’t any of the volunteers at the Earth Kind/Water Wise Demonstration Garden.  We know the truth!

Three years ago we planted one tiny little $1.49 French Tarragon plant in our raised bed designated exclusively for herbs.  The first year we weren’t sure if it would survive our brutal Texas summer heat.  During the second year our poor little plant was completely engulfed by an out-of-control Greek Oregano that was determined to reign over the bed.  And then, this spring we decided to take drastic measures.  Out came the oregano giving way to a much more open and friendlier environment for our determined little tarragon.  What happened next was a testament in perseverance as well as a sweet reward for “managing your herbs”.

Just take a close look at that beautiful clump of tender, fresh young spikes standing so upright and proud.  The tarragon has triumphed and we’ve been treated to a surprisingly flavorful spring treasure.

Tarragon Image 7

 

Today we celebrated the efforts of our work with “A Taste of Tarragon”.

Please enjoy using these recipes once you rush to the garden center and get your own French tarragon in the ground.   You’ll be rewarded!

French Tarragon-Linda's HouseTips for growing and harvesting French Tarragon. 

*Botanical name:  Artemisia dracunculus

*Sometimes referred to as “a chef’s best friend”.

*A perennial herb with long, light green leaves and tiny greenish or yellowish white flowers.  For cooking use French tarragon.  Russian tarragon has flavor vastly inferior to French tarragon.

Recipes

  Tarragon chicken salad

Nana’s Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

1 (3- to 4 ½-pound) chicken

¼ cup olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

4 hard-cooked eggs, chopped

1 dill pickle, chopped

1 bunch celery hearts, chopped

2 tablespoons sweet relish

2 teaspoons fresh lemon balm, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped

2 teaspoons fresh onion chives, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar

Fresh parsley and radish flowers for garnish

Directions:

  1. Boil chicken until tender.  Remove from liquid and cool.  Cut into small chunks.
  2. Combine oil and garlic.  Pour over chicken and let stand 30 minutes.
  3. Add eggs and next 7 ingredients.
  4. When ready to serve, combine salt, pepper, and next 3 ingredients.  Add to chicken and mix.  Garnish.

Yield:  4 to 6 servings

Adapted from “Morning Glories”

tarragon wafers

Tarragon Wafers

 

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 egg

½ cup crushed pecans or walnuts

1 ½ teaspoons pulverized tarragon

¼ cup all-purpose flour

¼ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Cream butter, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Beat in egg.  Stir in pecans and tarragon.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture.  Mix well.
  3. Drop in small mounds, about 3 inches apart, onto a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Cool 1 minute before removing from baking sheet.

Yield: 4 dozen wafers

Adapted from “Today’s Herbal Kitchen”

Tarragon tomatoes close up

Tarragon Tomatoes

Ingredients:

5 tomatoes

Sugar

¾ cup grated cheese of choice

½ cup breadcrumbs

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cut tomatoes in half.  Arrange, cut side up, in a shallow baking dish that is an appropriate size to snugly fit halves.  Sprinkle halves light with sugar.  Top halves with cheese.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs and remaining 3 ingredients.  Sprinkle mixture over cheese.
  3. Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Yield:  6 to 8 servings

Adapted from “Today’s Herbal Kitchen”

Tarragon sugar snap peas

Green Sugar Snap Peas with Tarragon

Ingredients:

¾ cup sugar snap peas, trimmed

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon or parsley

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Cook peas in salted water for 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp-tender.  Drain.
  2. Add butter and remaining ingredients.  Mix well to coat peas.

Yield: 4 servings

Adapted from “Today’s Herbal Kitchen”

Tarragon potatoes

Herb-Roasted Potatoes

Ingredients:

4 medium red skinned potatoes

2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ teaspoon paprika

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes.
  2. Mix together tarragon and remaining 5 ingredients.  Toss seasoning mixture with potatoes.
  3. Place on baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until tender.

Yield:  4 servings

Adapted from “Today’s Herbal Kitchen”

Tarragon image 002

 

Tarragon Blueberry Bundt Cake

 

Ingredients:

4 teaspoons (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) minced tarragon leaves

2 cups all-purpose flour, preferably bleached

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon coarse salt

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream

2 cups blueberries (fresh or thawed)

Garnish

Confectioners’ sugar; fresh blueberries (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 10-cup Bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together tarragon leaves, flour baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until mixture is fluffy and well-blended.  Beat in vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, alternately beat in flour mixture and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended.  Gently fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula.  Spread batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake cake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until top springs back when lightly pressed.  Let cool 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To serve, dust cake (it will be dark) with confectioners’ sugar, and mound berries in the center if desired; slice along and/or between the ridge lines.

Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Adapted from “Morning Glories”

Tarragon-apricots

Apricots Poached in Tarragon Syrup

Ingredients:

2/3 cup sugar

2 pieces lemon zest, cut into thin strips

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

6 large sprigs of tarragon, lightly crushed

12 apricots, halved and pitted

1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar or lemon juice

Vanilla ice cream or thick, plain yogurt, to serve

Directions:

  1. Put the sugar and 1 ¼ cups water in a wide saucepan and heat slowly to dissolve the sugar.  Add the strips of lemon zest, the vanilla bean, and tarragon sprigs.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Add the apricots and simmer slowly for about 5 minutes until soft.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the tarragon vinegar or lemon juice and let cool.
  3. Serve with ice cream or yogurt.

Yield:  serves 6

Adapted from “Today’s Herbal Kitchen”

7 responses »

  1. The tarragon blueberry Bundt cake is intriguing. I may try that next month when blueberries are in season!

    Reply
  2. Yummzz..
    Fond of vegetarian grills?
    This is surely gonna help..
    http://bit.ly/QM7ndv

    Reply
  3. where do I buy such a miracle plant?

    Reply
    • Garden Centers that carry herbs should have French Tarragon for sale in 4 inch pots. Are you in Houston?
      Loew’s and Home Depot sometimes even have a selection of herbs to plant. Wishing you success. Ann

      Reply
  4. Thank you for your recipes for tarragon. My small clump has refused to succumb to the Texas weather. Finally, I have new recipes and suggestions for using it. I love to eat from the garden. Jane

    Reply

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