What is tarragon?
A popular and versatile herb, tarragon has an intense flavour that’s a unique mix of sweet aniseed and a mild vanilla. The leaves are narrow, tapering and slightly floppy, growing from a long, slender stem. It’s a key herb in French cuisine (it’s an essential ingredient in Béarnaise sauce), and goes very well with eggs, cheese and poultry.
Choose the best tarragon
Go for fresh-looking leaves, with no discolouration or wilting. French tarragon is considered to be the best – its flavour is more subtle than the coarser Russian tarragon. Dried tarragon is also available. Or, for a ready supply, keep a pot on your windowsill, or grow in your garden or window box.
How to prepare tarragon
Wash, then use whole sprigs or strip the leaves from the stalks and use whole or chopped.
How to cook tarragon
Use to make sauces for fish and poultry. Add to salad dressings; use to flavour butter or white wine vinegar.
How to store tarragon
Fresh cut tarragon should be wrapped in damp kitchen paper, placed in a perforated bag and stored in the fridge. It will last for around 4-5 days. Dried tarragon should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place – it should last for 4-6 months.
Alternatives to tarragon