Food will never have that depth and distinct flavors if not with the help of herbs and spices. Herbs are a true gift from nature. This small plant that you can easily grow in your garden or even indoors accompany ingredients in such a way that the dish becomes its best version. Herbs are often used just to add flavor or depth in your recipes, but sometimes it can really stand and shine on its own.
To be able to add the perfect herbs for your dishes, identifying its taste is very important. Drawing or inventing a taste that goes well with a certain ingredient starts with knowing the taste. Herbs come in all shapes, sizes, tastes and textures.
It would be a great deal if you will start to know more about your herbs and its characteristics particularly its taste. In this post, we will try to talk about the herb tarragon.
What does tarragon taste like? Where did it come from? Where can we use it? What ingredients go well with it? We will try to answer this question as we go on and hopefully have some good insights and ideas for your next dish or for future recipes that you will do.
What Is Tarragon And Where Did It Come From?
Tarragon was cultivated mainly for medical and cooking purposes. This herb is a native from Asia that belongs to the sunflower family. It has long, narrow and flat leaves. It appears glossy and smooth.
This herb has 3 types the French, Russian and Mexican variety. But the most known and widely used are the French and Russian varieties. The differences are mainly in the taste which we will discuss later on. These two varieties are very similar that you should be very careful in trying to buy it.
1. Tarragon–The Taste
Tarragons taste is very unique. It has a hint of bitterness and sweetness. The taste will give you a hint of licorice and vanilla. This herb has a war between a cool and warm taste. It is minty and tastes a bit of hay but also peppery and a subtle hint of turpentine. It also has a good eucalyptus flavor that makes it a bit different from anise and fennel.
The combination of somewhat odd flavors makes the unique great taste of tarragon. The two varieties, French and Russian differs greatly on the taste. The French tarragon has a mild, delicate sweet taste, while the Russian variety lies more on the strong taste.
It is bitter in taste and the flavor is more harsh and tingly to the taste. Even the Russian variety has a stronger flavor, it is less aromatic and easily loses its flavor as it matures. The Mexican tarragon, on the other hand, can be easily distinguished because of its little yellow flowers is harder in texture and has a strong anise taste.
This distinct taste of Tarragon makes it a good companion with poultry and fish. It goes well with fishes that have high-fat content like salmon. And I am pretty sure that you’ve heard of tarragon chicken right?
The mild, fresh licorice-y flavor goes pretty well with chicken. One thing that we should remember in using tarragon is that it can easily overpower the dish with its flavor (especially when using fresh tarragon) so we need to use it in small amounts. Better to put a tiny amount and develop the flavor so you always remain on the safe side.
This distinct taste of Tarragon makes it a good companion with poultry and fish. It goes well with fishes that have high-fat content like salmon. And I am pretty sure that you’ve heard of tarragon chicken right? The mild, fresh licorice-y flavor goes pretty well with chicken.
One thing that we should remember in using tarragon is that it can easily overpower the dish with its flavor (especially when using fresh tarragon) so we need to use it in small amounts. Better to put a tiny amount and develop the flavor so you always remain on the safe side.
Also, another thing to keep in mind, tarragon unlike other herbs, loses a lot of its flavor when dried, so you need to use twice the amount of dried tarragon if a recipe requires it fresh.
2. Dishes And Herbs That’s Best With Tarragon
Tarragon is one of the main ingredients in making Béarnaise sauce, it is called as the “child” of one five mother sauce in the French Cuisine, the Hollandaise sauce. Another popular use of this is by infusing lightly bruised tarragon leaves and stems in vinegar to make tarragon vinegar. It is also incorporated into various sauces and salads.
- Anise– Tarragon and anise share the same licorice-like flavor, and combining the two make a better, unique taste.
- Mustard Seed– This is a no-brainer. Mustard is often sold flavored with tarragon. The distinct taste and flavor or mustard seeds are elevated with the delicate French tarragon taste.
- Parsley and Chervil– Tarragon goes well with this two fresh tasting herbs and makes great sauces, salads and stews.
- Chives– Chives with tarragon combines perfectly as flavoring for butter for basting chicken and as a spread.
- Coriander– The combination of nutty coriander and sweet licoricey tarragon is perfect for cooking seafood.
3. Best Dishes To Add Tarragon
- Bernaise Sauce- This classic sauce as what we talked about earlier uses tarragon as one of the main herbs. This sauce is commonly served with steak.
- Tarragon Vinegar- Tarragon is one herb that makes vinegar the best flavor.
- Vegetables with Tarragon- Mixing this herb with butter and adding it to sautéed vegetables or adding tarragon vinegar works wonders. It is also great as herbs for salads. Pairs are great with asparagus and artichokes.
- Salmon and Chicken- This is one of the best ingredients to pair with tarragon. Roasted tarragon chicken is a well-known recipe that elevates the tarragon and makes the chicken really great. Tarragon elevates and gives a delicate taste to salmon.
- Tarragon on desserts-This herb will be perfect in adding freshness and sweetness on fresh fruit salads and as flavoring for some cake recipes like the classic Slovenian Potica.
So there is it is, we did dig a little deeper to the humble herb tarragon, I hope that you gave you answers to some of your questions and also gave you some ideas for some recipes. If you never had the chance to try tarragon, give it a go!
Share this so that more people will have the sprinkle of tarragon in their lives!