Sunday, August 2, 2009

Join the party, celebrate tarragon

Margaret Roach at is hosting Summer Fest, a four-week celebration of garden-fresh foods and flavors. This week it's all about herbs, one of my favorite topics. And one of my favorite herbs is tarragon with its licorice-anise flavor. Growing tarragon in this neck of the woods is a no-brainer: Buy a pot of french tarragon, plant it in a sunny spot, divide every couple of years, enjoy the bounty. My best clumps get lots of southwest sun by the garage. It's one of the first perennials to show signs of life in the spring and I've been known to pinch off sprigs to chew while doing my garden rounds.

Tarragon chicken supper a few weeks ago.

A couple of weeks ago, the resident chef here improvised a divine chicken supper using tarragon. Here's how he did it:

You'll need chicken cut into pieces, tarragon vinegar, shallots, chicken stock, heavy cream and seasoned flour (1-1 1/2 cups flour, salt and pepper and 1-1 1/2 tablespoons dried tarragon).

Dip the chicken in tarragon vinegar (reserve excess) and coat with seasoned flour. Saute in olive oil until nicely browned on one side, turn. Brown other side. Pour reserved tarragon vinegar over chicken pieces and continue to cook until vinegar has evaporated and chicken is cooked through, turning as needed.

Remove chicken from frying pan, drain on paper towels. Add a little more oil to pan if needed and saute some shallots until translucent. Add stock and reduce vigorously, scraping up browned bits until almost evaporated. Add heavy cream and reduce until desired thickness. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper and add chopped fresh tarragon.

Plate with starch of choice (we used vermicelli seasoned with butter, salt and pepper and chopped fresh parsley). Sauce chicken judiciously as this is a rich sauce. Garnish with a fresh sprig of tarragon. A nice acidic white wine with herbal or mineral notes, such as Riesling or Sauvignon blanc, goes well with this dish.

A robust stand of French tarragon in a raised bed by the garage. It seems to thrive on neglect. All I do is divide it every couple of years. I don't even mulch it over the winter.

1 comment:

  1. You are so spoiled--Brian is a great cook and it definitely shows!