One GARDENER TO Another: Tarragon is magnifique | Columns

Final 7 days, I wrote about basil, the herb that we have dubbed the king of the herbs. Well, it turns out that the French also use that moniker.

Nevertheless, they use it as a reference to tarragon. Despite the fact that there are 3 kinds of tarragon — French, Russian and Mexican, and each individual has a unique warm aniseed flavor — the French assortment is the just one most usually applied culinarily.

Tarragon is 1 of the crucial ingredients, along with parsley, chervil and chives, in “Fines herbes,” the staple mix of seasonings in French cuisine.

Tarragon lends its one of a kind fragile flavor and vivid coloration to the ever well-liked eco-friendly goddess sauce. Blended with chives, parsley, scallions, mayo, anchovies and tarragon vinegar, the dressing was initially offered in 1923 by Chef Philip Roemer of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco and is a variation of “sauce au vert,” mentioned to have been developed by the chef to France’s King Louis XIII in the 1600s.

Thought to be native to Siberia or Mongolia, the title tarragon, also known as estragon, is in fact a corruption of the French “esdragon,” which was derived from the Latin “dracunculus,” that means “a little dragon.”

The name can most likely be attributed to the search of tarragon’s root program, which grows in a serpentine way. Since of this, folklore tells of tarragon staying used to address the bites of venomous snakes and reptilian beasts.

In contrast to the dark roots of its title, the perennial herb is element of the sunflower loved ones. Not shockingly, it is superior in Vitamin C, which aids to strengthen the immune procedure and struggle off those dragon bites.

Tarragon is also prosperous in Vitamin A and specially large in potassium, calcium, iron and other advantageous minerals. Medicinally, tarragon has been used to spark the urge for food, soothe indigestion and toothaches, and experiments present it may possibly decrease blood sugars.

Tarragon is a perennial plant that will arrive back every yr. Unlike most herbs, tarragon is not a comprehensive sunlight plant, preferring early morning solar and then partial shade or dappled sun in the course of the relaxation of the day.

It is a drought tolerant herb that grows ideal in properly-drained, sandy soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5. It does not develop nicely in acidic soil.

Tarragon can have a tendency to get a little leggy if not harvested consistently. To market the plant to grow to be bushier, harvest the top leaves of the plant often when the plant reaches a top of at the very least 6 inches. Quit harvesting about a month prior to the anticipated very first frost.

Propagation is commonly done from cuttings, getting that the plant provides quite handful of bouquets which are sterile. The root program can also be dug up and divided. This is ideal done in late winter season when the plant is in dormancy.

Tarragon pairs specifically perfectly with milder ingredients these kinds of as chicken, eggs, cheese and in creamy sauces, spreads and dressings. The subsequent recipe is a French typical and confident to have your family members applauding, “c’est bon.” (It’s good). Till following 7 days, content gardening.

Creamy Chicken Tarragon (Poulet à l’Estragon)


6 hen thighs, pores and skin-on

Salt and pepper to season

3 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, sliced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup hen broth

½ cup dry white wine (Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc)

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped

½ cup hefty product

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest


• Preheat oven to 375 levels.

• Wash thighs below cold managing drinking water pat dry wholly. Time each sides with salt and pepper set aside for about an hour to arrive to home temperature.

• Warmth a significant, oven-safe and sound skillet over medium heat. Incorporate butter. When butter is sizzling and scorching, increase chicken pieces, pores and skin aspect down in the skillet. Prepare dinner right until skin is golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Flip hen and cook dinner for an further 10 minutes. Transfer hen to a plate and address with foil.

• Incorporate onions to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, till onions are lightly caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and continue to prepare dinner, stirring, for an supplemental two minutes.

• Unfold onions out evenly around the bottom of the skillet return rooster pieces, skin aspect up to the pan.

• Sprinkle the chopped tarragon evenly around the chicken. Pour the hen stock and white wine into the pan, include grated lemon zest convey to a simmer.

• Take out from the warmth go over tightly with foil and location in preheated oven on the middle rack. Cook for 30-40 minutes till hen is tender.

• Very carefully take out the skillet from the oven and place again on the stove around medium warmth. Get rid of the rooster to a plate and deal with. Stir the product into the pan and simmer, stirring constantly, right up until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

• When sauce thickens, area chicken parts back into the pan, turning to coat, and cook dinner for an extra 5-7 minutes, uncovered.

• Sprinkle with additional tarragon leaves, if preferred. Serve with rice or egg noodles and haricots verts (slim green beans). Bon appétit.

— Irland, a member of the Limestone County Learn Gardeners, can be achieved at Visit for much more data on the Limestone County Master Gardeners.