Sunday, June 5, 2011

Herb Of The Week - Tarragon

For few can resist the charm
Of a sprig of balm
Or the hope of becoming a paragon
By the tactful use of tarragon.

Margaret Brownlow, 20th century horticulturist and writer


Tarragon is one of the most important culinary herbs; it is known as one of the four Fine Herbs along with chives, chervil and parsley. Although there are two distinct varieties, French and Russian, only true French tarragon is valued for its flavor and aromatics. True tarragon is unique in that it cannot be started from seed, but must be propagated by a cutting. 

Tarragon grows to two or three feet tall and likes moderate sun, preferring a little shade during the warmest part of the day. It grows well in a rich loamy soil that holds moisture, but drains well. Mulching is beneficial to this end.

Tarragon is unique in that during growth, it seems to have little aroma, yet after the leaves or tops are harvested, the oils concentrate and start emitting their unique tarragon sweet smell, similar to freshly cut hay.

I also found this great recipe for a salad dressing using tarragon. Serve with your fresh lettuce and cucumbers from the garden. If you grow shallots or chives, add those to your salad also.

Fresh Tarragon Salad Dressing Ingredients

½ cup Italian parsley leaves, finely minced
3 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, finely minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (This is the time to whip out the good stuff)
1 garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
Shake all of the ingredients together in a jar with a tight fitting lid. If you do not have such a jar then first whisk together all ingredients, adding the fresh herbs at the very end.
Toss the greens & the dressing in a large bowl, serve the salad on separate dish.

Thats all for today, 
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the info. I love tarragon. I'm only growing basil, chive, mint and rosemary right now. I might have to try tarragon.