Tarragon is the dried leaves of the herb Artemisia dracunculus. The slender dark-green leaves have a pleasant anise-like flavor and aroma.
Tarragon blends well with other herbs. It is used in sauces, especially béarnaise sauce, egg dishes, salad dressings and tarragon vinegar. In French cuisine it is an integral part of fines herbes and Dijon mustard.
The primary sources of tarragon are France and California. Both have a similar flavor, but California tarragon has a greener, more uniform color and is cleaner in flavor.
The English word "tarragon" originates from the French word estragon or "little dragon," which is derived from the Arabic tarkhun. Some believe the herb was given this name because of its supposed ability to cure the bites of venomous reptiles, while others believe the plant was so named because of its coiled, serpent-like roots. Although alluded to briefly in the 13th century as a seasoning for vegetables, a sleep-inducing drug and a breath sweetener, tarragon did not become well known until the 16th century.
Flavor & Aroma
Tarragon has an aromatic, licorice-like flavor and aroma. It is characteristically minty, earthy and green.