The Skinny on Herbs: Tarragon

A cook's guide to the delicious, transformative powers of herbs—and how to pick the best of them.

Looking for healthy, simple ways to take a dish from bland to brilliant? Do what professional chefs do: Use herbs. We'll explain the look and taste of a dozen popular varieties and tell you how to best use them in your cooking.


Its Herbal Essence
With its long, slender, pointy green leaves, tarragon has a lovely, gentle combination of licorice and basil plus a pleasant lemony-sour aftertaste that builds as you eat it. Whether purchasing fresh or dried, leaves should be very green and, in the former case, not wilted.

Store tarragon in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or dry it in bundles in a well-ventilated room.

Using It in the Kitchen
Tarragon lends the signature flavour in classic Béarnaise sauce, but it also cuts the richness beautifully. Mimic that interplay by pairing it with strong flavours: grilled meats, artichokes and asparagus as well as mustard vinaigrettes. It also brings out the sweetness in shellfish.

Check out these recipes from our database that make the most of tarragon: