Tarragon

Tarragon organic culinary herbs Colorado

Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is a perennial herb in the family Asteraceae related to wormwood. It is native to a wide area of the Northern Hemisphere from easternmost Europe across central and eastern Asia to western North America, and south to northern India and Mexico. The North American populations may however be naturalised from early human introduction.

Tarragon grows to 20-150 cm tall, with slender, branched stems. The leaves are lanceolate, 2-8 cm long and 2-10 mm broad, glossy green, with an entire margin. The flowers are produced in small capitulae 2-4 mm diameter, each capitulum containing up to 40 yellow or greenish-yellow florets.

Tarragon has a spicy flavour reminiscent of anise. French tarragon is the variety generally considered best for the kitchen, but cannot be grown from seed.

MUSTARD TARRAGON CHICKEN
This quick and easy dish works equally well for weeknight cooking or for company.

Serves 4
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely minced
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pieces (approx. 1 lb.) boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Melt butter and stir in all remaining ingredients. Dip each piece of chicken in this mixture, place the coated breasts in a buttered baking dish, and bake 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the juices of the chicken run clear when pricked with a fork.. Let rest and cut in 1” slices on the bias. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

TARRAGON CHICKEN SALAD WITH RED GRAPES
A welcome change from the ordinary. Enjoy.

Serves 4
2 cups diced cooked chicken
½ cup mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, finely minced
1 cup red grapes, cut in half

Combine all ingredients. Serve on a bad of butter lettuce leaves.

STEAMED MUSSELS WITH TARRAGON CREAM SAUCE
A heavenly variation on simple steamed mussels.

4-6 lbs. mussels
½ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons butter, cut in small pieces
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Steam mussels in large pot with wine and garlic about 10 minutes, or until most mussels have opened. With slotted spoon, remove mussels to a serving bowl. Strain the cooking liquid into a saucepan and boil over high heat until it is reduced to 1 cup. Whisk in butter. Add tarragon and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over mussels and serve.

LIME TARRAGON VINAIGRETTE
Wonderful for salads, or fish and shellfish dishes.

1 teaspoon lime zest, finely minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely minced
Whisk together zest, juice, salt and pepper in a small mixing bowl. Add oil very slowly (drop by drop at first and then in a slow stream) until the mixture thickens. Add remaining oil faster. Adjust for more salt and/or lime juice.

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