Oh, poor tarragon. For one reason or another, you always get lime-lighted out by Ms. Popularity Basil and Ms. Love-me-or-hate-me Cilantro. Even Ms. I’m-easygoing Thyme gets more love than you. Maybe your floral taste stumps cooks into not knowing what to do with you. And bakers, they don’t show you any love either. Mint, such a dessert herb limelight whore you are (harsh words, but it’s true).
But tarragon oh tarragon, I can’t quit you. I love you too much – in tea, in savory dishes, in ice cream – you need to quit being a wall flower and start showing your true colors. Because you are amazing and the world needs to discover you.
Hence, this love letter cum Vegan MoFo blog post. I want to show the readers out there that you deserve some attention and some lovin’.
2. And for reason #1, I love that I can harvested you mere minutes before adding you into any dish. The freshness of you, quite frankly, is intoxicating.
3. You pair quite well with citrus and I love you in a dalandan vinaigrette. I even love you mixed into my green salad, because you sure are tasty.
4. You and thyme keep each other company nicely and I’ve added you both to bean soups and stews with such satisfying results. Such bright flavors you add to a dish.
5. I’ve made many a vegan cheese spread and cream sauce with you because you add a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to the mix. What is it?? You’ve got me wrapped around your little herbaceous finger!
6. I once made 3 different herb-infused ice creams using you, basil, and mint separately. You stole the ice cream show hands down, my love.
7. I guess, one of the reasons you’ll remain in my heart is because you remind me so much of my favorite childhood beverage – root beer. And you are amazing in hot tea or iced tea, sweetened, or not. Really.
8. The fact that you not only taste good, but are good for me, makes complete sense. I mean, you’ve got anti-oxidant superpowers! You bring me down from a sugar high! Why, you even make sure that nasty clots don’t bulk up my arteries and my heart so I don’t accidentally get a heart attack, or God forbid, a stroke. You take care of me.
9. Umm, I think it’s pretty clear why you’re great. You calm me down when I’m winded up and you put me to sleep quite nicely. You’ll even cure me from a case of hiccups. Why, you’ll cure toothaches right up, too. What can’t you do?
I’m going to share a few recipes that celebrate you in all your glory. And I hope, one day, the world will see you for who you truly are: a star.
1 handful of fresh tarragon stalks and leaves (about 5 or 7)
1 liter water
Place the tarragon and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat. Serve.
Alternatively, bring the water up to a boil. Place the tarragon in a teapot and pour in the water. Let steep for 10 minutes. Serve.
Dalandan tarragon vinaigrette
Makes 1 ½ cups
¼ cup dalandan juice
2 tbsp calamansi juice
2 tsp muscovado sugar or raw sugar, or to taste
1 tsp mustard, optional (this acts as an emulsifier and keeps the dressing homogenous)
1 shallot (sibuyas na mura), finely minced
1 cup vegetable oil: extra virgin oil, light olive oil, or canola
2 tbsp tarragon, finely minced
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dalandan juice, lemon juice, sugar, mustard, and shallot.
- Slowly pour in the oil while whisking continuously until emulsified.
- Add the tarragon, and adjust for salt and pepper accordingly.
Lentil salad with thyme and tarragon
Makes about 4 to 6 servings
1 cup dried lentils (or 2 cans cooked lentils, rinsed and drained)
1 laurel leaf
1 onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tbsp dried thyme
4 tomatoes, seeded, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons, about ½ cup (no lemons? Use cane vinegar)
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (or regular canola oil)
¼ cup fresh tarragon, chopped
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook the lentils:
a. Rinse the lentils a few times in running water.
b. Place the lentils in a saucepan. Cover with fresh water (about 2 inches above the beans) and add a huge pinch of salt and 1 laurel leaf.
c. Bring the beans up to a boil, and then simmer on low until cooked, about 25 minutes. Drain and discard the leaf.
2. In a bowl, mix the cooked lentils, onion, garlic, thyme, tomatoes, lemon juice, and pinches of salt and pepper together.
3. Drizzle in the oil and mix well. You want each lentil to be coated in lovely oil.
4. Mix in the tarragon and parsley. Adjust for salt and pepper accordingly.
Serve warm or cold – on a bed of greens, in an open-faced sandwich, in a tortilla wrap, with a bowl of rice, with cooked pasta.