Tarragon, Texas-style

Weekend Herb BloggingAlthough I planted a number of herbs from seed this year, when Steve’s Mom and I went on our flower-buying expedition, I couldn’t help but pick up a couple of additional herb seedlings. I bought a rosemary plant, because I cannot go a summer without rosemary, and, at Mary Beth’s suggestion, picked up a Texas Tarragon plant.

“These are wonderful,” she said. “I’ve never had any luck with French Tarragon, but the Texas Tarragon always thrives.”

I’ll admit that it amuses me to think of the Texas Tarragon asserting its dominance in the garden, particularly over the French variety. We’ll see if it manages to take out any of the other plants around it with its sheer doggedness.

The garden: always interesting. Always metaphorical.

Oh, and if anyone has any good tarragon-loving recipes to share, please leave links in the comments. If this thing does thrive, I’m definitely going to need to cook it up.

This is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging, which returns home to Kalyn’s Kitchen this week. Please stop by later in the weekend for the full round-up!

16 Responses to “Tarragon, Texas-style”

  1. 1 bright strangely May 31, 2007 at 2:57 pm

    speaking as a texan, i can vouch for its hardiness. the french tarragon will try to dig a defensive line, but the lone star herbs will march triumphantly around it. then it will tease the french about their silly accents. should you, for some unknown reason, wish to preserve the french tarragon, there seem to be loads of uses for the texas tarragon. my advice is to enjoy these in front of the plant if it misbehaves, so it learns. and thanks for sharing, i’d never heard of it!


  2. 2 Kim May 31, 2007 at 10:08 pm

    Alright, I have no idea what “Texas Tarragon” was before clicking Bright’s links above, I admit. Here, we get the French or the Russian (the latter isn’t worth the space to grow it compared with the taste of the French)… but I love the French and it’s come back for me every year at this house (sandy soil) and the last (clay). If I knew a secret for it, I would tell you. But I think it’s just dumb luck.

    I can share my absolute favorite tarragon recipe with you, though:

    Use the sharpest cheddar you can find, and/or mix in half gruyere for a change of pace. Read the user comments to find out how to sub half & half for some of the cream–I usually do that. Seriously, I’m drooling just thinking about this dish, it’s that good.

  3. 3 Marc @ GardenDesk May 31, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    You have a great blog! We are waiting for our first tomato we are looking at June 24th. Yea!


  4. 4 Annie in Austin May 31, 2007 at 11:02 pm

    Hi Genie,

    Most of the people I know call it Mexican Mint Marigold, and adding that it’s what Texans use instead of tarragon.

    Even if you don’t cook with it, it’s a great-looking plant with gold flowers in fall. I grow mine in a hypertufa trough for good drainage and blogged about it last fall.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  5. 5 inadvertentgardener May 31, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Bright Strangely, you crack me up. Thanks for sharing those links!

    Kim…oh, man…that recipe sounds fabulous. I’m definitely going to give that a whirl. I might eat the whole pan by myself! Yum… Thanks for passing it along!

    Marc, I’m going to be so impressed if you make that deadline. I’m wondering if there’s a chance I might be able to hit that kind of timeline, too — I have tomatoes popping out all over the stupice plant.

    Annie, I did not know that about the flowers — how exciting! I love fall flowers, so it’ll be cool to have those.

  6. 6 Christa June 1, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Interesting, Genie. I’d never heard of Texas Tarragon before. I’m growing French Tarragon and it’s great with carrots or chicken. Can’t wait to see what you try with yours.

  7. 7 inadvertentgardener June 1, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    Christa, I’ll definitely let you know — and I can’t wait to hear how you’re employing your French tarragon this summer!

  8. 8 Ellen June 2, 2007 at 11:11 am

    The best Tarragon soup EVER!
    (I’m trying to come up with a written form of the recipe, as I normally make this by “feel” and not following a specific recipe. So if I sound a little vague, please forgive me)

    Melt 1 stick of butter in a large pan. Add 1 big finely chopped onion to the butter and let it “sweat” over low heat. Add 1 tub of fresh mushrooms, finely chopped and continue cooking over low heat for about 5 minutes. Drizzle 4 heaping tablespoons of flour onto the mixture, and immediately add either chicken- or vegetable broth little by little. I prefer the chicken, but veggie broth is ok if you want to make this strictly vegetarian. I use one of the big cans of broth (what are they; 1.5 or 2 pints?). Make sure the soup is smooth without any flour “clumps”. Now add 1-2 finely chopped red sweet peppers. You can use the green too, but I like the red for the color. Also add 2-3 ears of fresh corn (in a pinch you can use canned, but it tastes less good). I prepare the corn this way: hold the naked ear of corn over an open flame (gas flame or BBQ) and roast it slightly for a minute or two. Take a sharp knife and cut the kernels off. Add to soup.
    Now comes the tarragon. I use a whole tub of the fresh tarragon I can buy at the fresh herb section at Safeways. Remove the leaves from the stems (tedious work) and chop them finely. Add to soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can add some chili paste for an extra “oomph”. Simmer for about an hour, longer is fine too; it will only enhance the taste. Finally add half a pint of fat free half and half (or heavy cream if you’re not counting calories) and bring back up to temperature (don’t boil the soup now or the cream may separate).
    Serve with fresh-baked bread.
    This soup is even better the day after.


    ~ Ellen

  9. 9 inadvertentgardener June 2, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Ellen, that sounds fabulous! I’ll definitely give that a try this summer and see how it turns out. I am always on the lookout for tasty soup recipes, and especially if I use Iowa sweet corn, this is going to be divine.

  10. 10 Kalyn June 2, 2007 at 4:36 pm

    I’m also growing French tarragon for the first time. I have no idea what I’ll use it for though. Never heard of Texas Tarragon, very interesting.

  11. 11 inadvertentgardener June 2, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    Kalyn, you’ll have to let me know how you use it. Too bad we’re not closer to each other — we could try the tarragon soup with the two different styles of tarragon and do a taste test!

  12. 12 Kim June 2, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Oooh… I’m definitely going to try that soup recipe, too! Sounds delicious.

  13. 13 inadvertentgardener June 2, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Kim, yes, doesn’t it? Totally yummy…

  14. 14 Deborah in Kerrville, TX September 12, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    I just harvested some of my Texas Tarragon…WOW!!! It has a wonderful licorice scent! Yummmm. I can’t wait to try it in a salad or maybe a soup or stew.

  15. 15 inadvertentgardener October 9, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    Deborah, glad you like it — I hope it worked well in your home-cooked dishes. Hope you’ll continue the conversation over at my updated blog, http://www.theinadvertentgardener.com!

  1. 1 Don’t mess with the Texas tarragon « The Inadvertent Gardener Trackback on June 29, 2007 at 9:18 am
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