In my humble opinion, tarragon is one of the under used herbs.
What is tarragon?
Tarragon is a wispy, leafy green herb that is part of the sunflower family and is used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It is seen heavily in French cuisine, but also in American and other European dishes. Tarragon also goes by estragon.
Tarragon is full of flavor and very aromatic.
What Does Tarragon Taste Like?
The best way to describe it is licorice, although others will also claim anise and sweet.
I will say, I am not a fan of black licorice, however I do like tarragon, so don’t rule it out.
It is important to note that tarragone does change flavor profiles from raw to cooked and also to dried. Therefore, if a recipe calls for dried or fresh tarragon, it isn’t advised to substitute one for the other.
Tarragon is also best added at the end of cooking. Cooking for too long will result in a bitter taste. Unless, of course, that is the objective like in my Olive and Orange Chicken.
Substitutes for Fresh Tarragon
Fresh chervil or fennel fronds are the most recommended. After is a pinch of ground fennel seed or anise seed for each tablespoon of fresh tarragon.
Substitutes for Dried Tarragon
How to Counteract Too Much Tarragon
- Dilute the dish with other ingredients. It is as simple as changing the ratio mix.
- Add dairy. Cream, milk or butter will help cover up the intense flavor.
- Add tomatoes or citrus. Anything highly acidic, like tomatoes or citrus will help to balance the flavors.
- Sugar. Use sparingly, but add a small amount of sugar if tarragon is bitter.
- Red wine and vinegar. These are also highly acidic and will help to overpower.
Tarragon For Medicinal Reasons
Tarragon is also used for holistic medicine. It has been linked to:
- treating digestive problems
- increasing appetite
- reducing water retention
- healthy sleep
- reducing menstrual cramps
Let us know your favorite way to enjoy tarragon!