Every time The Boy and his partner visits us in Tasmania they go op-shopping and buy me presents, which of course I think is adorable. This summer they bought me a Nigella cook book, Nigellisima, and I was delighted to discover a recipe featuring French tarragon, which is my favourite herbe de jour. Honestly, French tarragon, a revelation. Eat it sprinkled on salad, on boiled, buttered potatoes, in potato salad, as the secret magic ingredient in sauerkraut, on chicken, baked salmon with lemon, and chopped up in salad dressing. Yummo. Also, as a perennial herb, once you have it in your garden, you get to keep it and it grows into a giant bush, which is lucky as all your friends will want bunches all the time. The first winter I thought I had killed it, but, it's ok, it always dies down to bare branches in winter. Just cut it back to the ground and it will sprout up out of the ground in spring. Such a gem of a plant. I have recently discovered that it is possible to hack off chunks of the tarragon plant and replant them. New plants for free! Make sure you plant French tarragon though - the Russian tarragon leaf is larger and coarser with a not so splendid flavour.
One morning in summer, ten minutes before we were due to leave on one of our Big Days Out I was whizzing up this beautiful tarragon sauce fresh from the garden, and there were trenchant comments from the rest of the family who were standing around the kitchen saying things like, "Really, Mum? You really need tarragon sauce that badly? I'm sure we'll be fine without it, can't we GO already?" However, at lunchtime when we all tried this divine green sauce for the first time, suddenly the tune changed, as everyone greedily scooped it onto all the food in sight. It was delicious on the chicken salad, and pitch perfect on the home made olive bread with cheese. I believe it was also being smeared on crackers with olives, and although it probably did not get added to the dessert, there was not much of it left by the time we returned home that day.
So if you live in a garden blessed by tarragon and parsley, lemons and spring onions, as I do, this is the sauce for you. Just ignore the chicken part of this recipe, and make the sauce, and put it on everything except dessert.
The blonde one is mine. The dark one I have happily adopted.
Thank you, gentlemen xx