My Favorite Uses For Tarragon

May 30, 2014 | Other Goodies

It wasn’t until culinary school that I learned about the uses for tarragon and how flavorful and wonderful this delicate herb truly is.  I had heard of it, but never knew any of it’s wonderful attributes: flavor profile and how it can enhance sauces, cooking liquids, and dishes.

When I first worked with it in school, there was one thing that came to mind as soon as I smelled it: Bearnaise sauce.  Bearnaise is a secondary sauce made from the mother sauce Hollandaise (there are five mother sauces: Béchamel, Espagnole, Tomato, Hollandaise, and Velouté).  One of a few ingredients added to Hollandaise to create Bearnaise is tarragon (along with shallots, chervil, and peppercorns), but tarragon is definitely on the front line of the flavor profile of Bearnaise.  Some common foods which Bearnaise can be drizzled over are steaks or filet mignons, asparagus (or other various vegetables), seafood, and eggs.

There is a light freshness and almost black licorice flavor to tarragon, and when added to a dish properly, it can be quite the perfect compliment.  Some of the dishes I have used it to add another depth of flavor are: deviled eggs and my Tarragon Egg Salad, as a flavor enhancer to fish poaching liquids, and as a part of the traditional “herbes fines” (which is composed of finely chopped fresh tarragon, parsley, chives, and chervil) to add to sauces for chicken and fish.

When working with tarragon, like most herbs, the leaves are the part of the plant to be used when chopping (the whole sprig can be used if utilizing the herb as a part of a bouquet garni).  I usually find that fresh tarragon can keep up to 5-7 days in the fridge, then begins to show signs of wilting and discoloring.

What are some of your favorite uses for tarragon?

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