Katie's Healthy Bites: Have You Tried Tarragon?

Though many of the herbs in my garden have already gone to seed (here's looking at you, cilantro), beautiful tarragon, the “king of herbs” to the French, still stands proud. Native to southern Russia and western Asia, Tarragon is now most widely associated with French cuisine. This aromatic, bittersweet herb is one of four fine herbs used in French cooking (the others being parsley, chives and chervil). Its mild, anise-like flavors adds dimension to egg, chicken and fish dishes.

Buying and Storage Tips

Fresh tarragon is best, as the aromatic oils dissipate when dried, taking a lot of flavor with them. Frozen tarragon is a good substitution, but in a pinch you could also use chervil or a bit of fennel seed or anise to mimic (but not duplicate) the flavor.

To prolong the use of your fresh tarragon, Freeze whole sprigs in an re-sealable bag for up to 3-5 months. Don’t bother defrosting, just remove from the freezer and add to your recipe.

How to Use Tarragon

Tarragon is best used sparingly, as it can easily overpower a recipe. Tarragon vinegar is flavorful, easy to make and a simple way to preserve fresh sprigs. Simply place fresh springs in a sanitized bottle and cover with white vinegar. Check the flavor of the vinegar every few days and add or remove sprigs to achieve the desired flavor.

Chicken salad is a great way to highlight tarragon's unique flavor; here is my favorite recipe.

Tarragon Chicken Salad

Yield: 4 Servings

Ingredients:

• 1 pound poached boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

• 1 hard boiled egg, diced
• 1/4 cup celery, chopped
• 1 small shallot, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons low-fat mayo
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped
• Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve.

Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Calories: 168
Total Fat: 4.8 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Protein: 27.5 grams
Sodium: 211 milligrams
More Recipes Featuring Tarragon:

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie's full bio »

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