Harvested from vast, cultivated fields in early spring and summer before summer heat sets in, tarragon is the leaves of the perennial herb Artemisia dracunculus. The slender, dark-green leaves bring hints of licorice and mint, and an earthy aroma much like anise. Tarragon is available dried leaves.
The French have made a fine art of using tarragon for dishes like poulet à l’estragon or tarragon chicken, and the classic Béarnaise sauce, often paired with fish, eggs and vegetables. Use it to make delicious herb butter for vegetables or to flavor a roast chicken or vinaigrette for mixed greens and strawberries.
Indigenous to Siberia and Southern Russia, tarragon today is primarily sourced from France, where it is grown just south of Paris.
BELIEVE IT…OR NOT
The word “tarragon” comes from the French word estragon, or “little dragon,” which comes from the Arabic word tarkhun. Some believe the herb was given this name for its supposed ability to cure venomous reptile bites. Tarragon was not a well known herb until Medieval times, when it began to be enjoyed by the French and Italians. It was introduced in England around the 16th century.
Roast Tarragon Chicken
Penne Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, Ricotta Salata and Tarragon Butter