New_tarragon

Among the happiest moments of the year are when the air and soil are hot enough to plant herbs, and so I go out into my little patch of soil along the back kitchen wall, and I plant my tarragon, the greatest of all herbs.  THE GREATEST OF ALL HERBS.  Parsley’s a work horse (misused and underrated).  Thyme is lovely, pretty, delicate.  Doris Day to tarragon’s Sophia Loren.  I don’t grow a lot of herbs, the fines herbes, sage, basil (and oregano and mint that won’t stop growing).  But the one I rely on most is tarragon.  Tarragon and roast chicken, tarragon and butter, tarragon and fish, tarragon and beef, tarragon and eggs, gorgeous, seductive tarragon.  It’s a perennial, but I always lose it to the Cleveland winters.  So each spring new plants go in, and the day is filled with promise.

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83 Wonderful responses to “Tarragon”

  • Umber

    I love tarragon especially with slamon and parma ham but but my poor husband, is severely allergic to it – causes him to have cramps and violent D&V, to the point of collapse. He manages to stay away from it for most of the time but sometimes gets caught out by the herb being in processed chicken based foods.

  • Claudia

    Love fennel, too. Especially “caramelized”. Wish more people loved it, too. Oh, and mint. A colleague just cut me two large clusters of mint from her yard . . . I see a mango/papaya/red onion/mint salsa in my near future, over a spicy jerk chicken or fish . . . I see mojitos . . .

  • Gabrielle

    I made a gazpacho recently that included tarragon. Oh my god. Fantastic. Parsley, chopped cucumber, tomato, orange bell pepper, celery, fresh garlic, lemon juice, olive oil… and the tarragon. Plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper. I love tarragon, even just with vegetables.

  • Gabrielle

    Whoops, totally forgot that there is of course vegetable broth on top of all those yummy diced veggies and the herbs there to make the lovely gazpacho. And the person who says Rachael Ray doesn’t know how to use herbs, that she suggests tarragon with broccoli? Hey, if she digs it, fine. If her followers dig it, who’s to say? Cooking and food are about personal preference. One person’s tarragon is another person’s cilantro. Not everyone likes everything, and it can’t be fair to judge a palate, can it?

  • chron

    too much nutritive layer breeds fungi and bacteria that will degrade underground growth. give your herbs a fortress to hide away; impenetrable dense clay soil. I have a perennial herb garden in southern Michigan, there is no reason you can’t. Cover with natural non-pine mulch over winter. Peel back the wood chippings early spring and feed EARLY with organic kelp/guano mix.

    Given this treatment herbs will be hardier, more acclimated. This tends to arouse new flavor profiles and increase total production over a few seasons. Amend soil as needed to keep pH and nitrogen levels right. Low phosphorus for these creatures.

    Garlic is a beast. go straight to the experts, don’t even attempt this unless you are full-tilt.

  • nondiregol

    Anyone who loves tarragon (and I do) should never, ever watch an episode of Rachael Ray. She throws herbs into her “creations” at random. “let’s see, if tarragon goes with chicken, then it must go with broccoli, right? Yum-O.”

    On cilantro, years ago I realized that this delightful bit of “stuff” was not an acquired taste. You are hard-wired in the master plan to like it or not like it, and you can’t change anyone’s mind about it.

    Fennel? I love fennel. I love it thinly shaved on the mandoline (which I have nicknamed Robespierre), and tossed with grapefruit or blood orange, and maybe some nicoise olives. Good drizzle of olive oil of course.

  • mjn34

    Michael,

    I live in Northeast Ohio and I have a question that is a bit off topic. I first saw your name in Bourdain’s Nasty Bits and that led to me read all of your “Chef” books over the past six months. After reading your books, this blog, Charles Fishman’s book The Wal-Mart Effect (scary, very scary), and following the global warming movement, the synapses in my brain finally fired and I am interested in buying locally grown products. My research has led me to North Union Farmer’s Market and City Fresh services through The New Agrarian.

    Do you have any experience with either of these organizations and can you please pass along recommendations for good, local NE Ohio produce? Also, for regular grocery stores, do you have any thoughts on Heinen’s vs. Big Chains vs. Whole Foods vs. Mustard Seed?

    I enjoy this blog and the accompanying commentary. It’s like dinner with smart, experienced, opinionated friends — I learn a lot, I sometimes disagree and I’m often amused! Thanks to all contributors for helping me see and think about food in new ways.

    Melissa

  • mjn34

    Michael,

    I live in Northeast Ohio and I have a question that is a bit off topic. I first saw your name in Bourdain’s Nasty Bits and that led to me read all of your “Chef” books over the past six months. After reading your books, this blog, Charles Fishman’s book The Wal-Mart Effect (scary, very scary), and following the global warming movement, the synapses in my brain finally fired and I am interested in buying locally grown products. My research has led me to North Union Farmer’s Market and City Fresh services through The New Agrarian.

    Do you have any experience with either of these organizations and can you please pass along recommendations for good, local NE Ohio produce? Also, for regular grocery stores, do you have any thoughts on Heinen’s vs. Big Chains vs. Whole Foods vs. Mustard Seed?

    I enjoy this blog and the accompanying commentary. It’s like dinner with smart, experienced, opinionated friends — I learn a lot, I sometimes disagree and I’m often amused! Thanks to all contributors for helping me see and think about food in new ways.

    Melissa

  • Skawt

    ruhlman sez:

    “only the hopelessly deluded and criminally insane actually open restaurants…”

    So when are you opening your fourth restaurant?

  • Michael Kurtz

    When I was an undergraduate, 35 years ago, I spent two years as an exchange student in Heidelberg, and, as the German universities have 5 months/year vacation (two in winter, three in summer) I spent substantial time living near Paris, studying French, and learning to drink Pernod.

    One year Gregory and I decided that we would host a new years party at Mme Chapot’s apartment in Pantin, where I was staying. Mme Chapot was Gregory’s mother in law. The arrangements were made, the invitations sent and RSVPd and Greg and I proceeded to plan the meal, a cold buffet staring a tarragon flavored fish aspic.

    We went to the market at the Eglise de Pantin, bought the tarragon, the fish, and got a large package of fish scraps for the poaching broth. We went back to his apartment, put the tarragon and fish scrapes and water in a pot and let it simmer; the house filled with the intense smell of the herb. The smell got more and more intense, the tarragon overpowering our senses, making us queasy. Then Monique, Greg’s wife, came home, took one smell, opened all the windows, threw the contents of the stock pot away and got us all out of the house. The fish scraps had been rotten, we had been poisoning ourselves.

    The next night I spent sick in my room, 4 meters from the party. Along with the episode involving the brain surgeons, the Sardinian worm cheese, and the grappa this was the worst culinary experience of my life. To this day I cannot abide the smell of tarragon.

  • Natalie Sztern

    i dunno, i think “tarragon” is a pseudonym for something much more heinous…can’t be y’all talking about just an herb or herbs or are u???? You funky fooies

  • Tags

    Encouraged by seeing Eugene Walter mentioned in the June Food Arts (p 9), I’ll go to the well one more time for fennel (brevedited).

    Common fennel is a perennial often grown as an annual. If you would have it in your garden, place it in poor or sandy soil, away from your herb beds, in open spaces where it can develop. It needs to be well-watered in its first month, then you can more or less forget it.

    Don’t plant anywhere near tomatoes or coriander. An English saying is “plant fennel near the kennel,” for it does indeed discourage fleas and ticks; they hate fennel.

  • KG

    ruhl…I thought you had a restaurant in Cleveland. I wanted to try it out and can’t seem to find it.

  • Kevin

    Are there different plant varieties of tarragon that are better than others? I bought a plant a couple of years ago and it makes me wonder if the guy at the garden center sold me a weed. It looks like tarragon, but it has very little aroma and flavor when I use it.

  • RI Swampyankee

    Chervil is an amazing herb. Mine has self-seeded all over the garden, into the cracks in the patio and into my neighbor’s yard. Not that that’s a bad thing, mind you. Roasted potatos dipped into freshly made mayo with minced chervil is just about as good as it gets.

  • bryan

    I cannot even think about sweet sausage without the addition of fennel. I add it to several pork dishes as well. But don’t get me started on Juniper berries… yuck-o-rama.

    I adore tarragon. I sneak a little into my beef stroganoff and it makes a huge difference. When I serve it, I’m always asked what makes it taste so good… I just smile and say it’s the fresh sour cream. :)

  • Ashley

    In response to Michael asking about fennel…I think it tastes like iced licorice (and not in a good way) when raw, but is amazing roasted. I saute it with mushrooms,garlic and apple spice sausage, toss in some breadcrumbs and stuff a pork loin with it. I never use the fronds for much besides garnish.

    Does anybody grow fennel? I see it with the herbs, but usually I use the bulb when I cook…so would that I mean I’d have to dig it up every time and lose most of the plant?

  • Claudia

    You go, Brandon. Basil is a beautiful herb. Aside from pesto, my Caprese (and especially my roasted pepper antiasto) would be nothing without it. (Opal basil, although I love the lemon basil for Thai, etc.)

  • Bob delG

    I just now remembered that Gary Allen has a new book (The Herbalist in The Kitchen; University of Illinois Press) due out in July that is a comprehensive survey of culinary herbs and their applications. I haven’t seen the galleys, but I’m pretty familiar with it’s contents and structure because he’s been working on the damn thing for as long as I know him (since 1993) and he has shown me bits and pieces along the way.

    Expect good writing and lots of practical, historical and scientific information.

    At one point he was drawing the illustrations, but I think that proved to be too much for the old man.

    You can get more info about it here if you will:

    http://tinyurl.com/2acmf5

  • brandon_w

    I used to be anti-cilantro but have really started to like it.

    Skirt steak fajitas are not complete without fresh chopped cilantro on top. My cilantro plant is already over 3 feet tall.

    I am going to be planting one more pot (for more basil) maybe I’ll throw in some tarragon too.

  • nick s

    Chervil. Grow it yourself, tend it with (a little) care and give your omelettes or scrambled eggs a treat.

  • Skawt

    sorcha:

    I’m a supertaster, too. At most times, my tongue is mild-mannered, wearing a blue suit and glasses. But when I eat, my tongue throws on bright spandex and a red cape, eating entire meals in a single bite!

    Tags: Hugh Johnson? Reslly now, did you think I was going to let that name go by without saying something.

    ruhlman: Would you like me to get you a truss? Perhaps a cane you can shake at the kids that won’t get off your damn lawn?

    (P.S.: Cilantro tastes like Kryptonite.)

  • Skawt

    sorcha:

    I’m a supertaster, too. At most times, my tongue is mild-mannered, wearing a blue suit and glasses. But when I eat, my tongue throws on bright spandex and a red cape, eating entire meals in a single bite!

    Tags: Hugh Johnson? Reslly now, did you think I was going to let that name go by without saying something.

    ruhlman: Would you like me to get you a truss? Perhaps a cane you can shake at the kids that won’t get off your damn lawn?

    (P.S.: Cilantro tastes like Kryptonite.)

  • Ed

    Claudia:
    Fennel is a vegetable

    Fennel is an herb

    Fennel is a spice

    Fennel is all of these things, and I didn’t even mention its pollen (it sort of technically fits the description of a spice but is different from the seed)

    I love all herbs really, cilantro hate is not so suprising it is usually aquired for gringos…I remember my first taste and can understand the soapy descriptor…its a good thing have fewer of these receptors than I do…but I love it now.

    Tarragon? Probably my least used, I find it very distinctive and enjoyable…but it is so unique that I find it difficult to use outside of the French idiom.

    Parsley is the most useful across a broad spectrum

    Sage should be used with wisdom

    Dill reminds me of my childhood

    Thyme is poetry, indespensible

    Rosemary is pungent, I almost want to smoke it

    Basil is perfumed and best enjoyed in the company of ladies (true for all of the above really).

    I could go on…but I’ll spare you, the Sox and Yanks are playing anyway.

  • Tags

    The word coriander, quoting Eugene Walter, is derived from koris, an old Greek word meaning “bedbug,” supposedly because the seeds were shaped like bedbugs. The seed is a secret ingredient of gin and chartreuse, and is often the seed in the middle of a jaw-breaker or gob-stopper. It can also “sex up” the dreariest rice pudding on earth. But, it’s completely different from the leaf, used heavily in Chinese and Mexican dishes.

  • barbarena

    I commercially grow about a dozen culinary herbs and can validate what Hank wrote about the “true” (read French) Tarragon–it can only be propagated from cuttings. The seed-started tarragon is usually Russian Tarragon, as Charlotte said. Regarding the aversion to cilantro some people report (making it out to be the militant liver of the herb world!) I have found that this is only the case when the cilantro is harvested past its prime.

  • Claudia

    OK, so it’s not a herb, but does anyone have any thoughts on fennel?

  • t-scape

    I’m honestly shocked at the amount of cilantro hatred. Who knew a simple herb could incite such passions?

  • Cathryn

    Cilantro is the only flavor that completely spoils a dish for me. There aren’t many things I don’t like, but I find that even the ones that make me cringe when tasted alone (swiss cheese and cumin are the two that spring to mind) can add just the right flavor to a meal. Not cilantro. I have never known cilantro to enhance any food. It just wrecks it.

    Conversely, basil I cannot live without. Fresh basil. On everything. Which is just as well, really, since I can only seem to get it in these gigantic bundles, and I only cook for one! Sometimes I think I could even put it in chocolate cake (not that I’m going to try any time soon). Now that I’ve gotten interested in using fresh herbs – I credit Bourdain with opening my eyes on that one – I keep meaning to try other herbs, but I just can’t stay away from the basil.

  • Schroeder

    Taragon…only tolerate it in small quanities (my mother used to marinate chicken in vinegar and taragon…had way too much of it)…And “Shoebootie” I just had to laugh at your post! Don’t care for cilantro…I had to roll my eyes when I hear people say, “Oh, I LOOOOOOOOOOVE cilantro”.

  • Claudia

    OooOOOOOOo, sage! Salvia! Sage is earthy and smoky and . . . deep?

    Sorcha – butchitude – love it. I’m going to use that as a defense the next time I get accused of getting all up in someone’s “grill” (!)

  • Elizabeth

    Can’t stand cilantro, and it’s not a genetic thing. I come from a Chinese family and it’s the most frequently used herb. I like most herbs or at least tolerate them, but I’ve never gotten used to the taste of cilantro.

    I don’t mind tarragon, but it’s not the first thing I would choose for a potato or chicken salad. Favorites: Thai basil, Italian basil, Italian parsley, dill, thyme.

  • sorcha

    Claudia, you’re female, so it’s okay to be effete except when the situation calls for butchitude. ;)

    Carolina Girl, I don’t know about litigation, but I ain’t eating any of that chef’s herbs. That’s just a gu reaction, though, not backed up by any sort of science or knowledge other than the knowledge that I don’t want to ingest the urine of vagrants.

  • Tags

    Charlotte, it looks like you gave away the secret to your vigorous tarragon. In Hugh Johnson’s “The Principles of Gardening,” it says that tarragon and chives are “happy with a well-drained garden soil, needing little feeding but more or less frequent dividing and replanting”.

    Of course, after seeing Michael write top-notch books on heart surgeons, home-rehab and boat-building, I’m not so surprised to see a Hugh Johnson book on gardening.

  • Claudia

    Is loving dill being too effete? And would dill be Doris Day or Debbie Reynolds?

    Claudia (I Love Rosemary/Rosemary is Claudia Cardinale) :-)

  • ruhlman

    Charlotte, my tarragon comes up as a gnarly knotty stem with maybe a leaf or two on it. russ parsons was giving me shit yesterday for my tarragon ineptness, but you’ve inspired me.

    another superb and surprising pairing is tarragon and corn.

  • Adrienne

    Sorcha: Until you made that comment, I figured my increasing acceptance of cilantro — I can now tolerate it, if not enjoy it — was due to the wisdom that comes with age, with that quiet acceptance that I can’t change certain things in the universe and have to make peace with them.

    Instead, I now realize, it’s because my body has moved further along the inexorable slope of decay.

    So, um, thanks.

  • sorcha

    I’m a supertaster! Whoo!

    No wonder I was a picky eater all those years – now that I’m getting older and my tastebuds are starting to die off, I’m able to enjoy a wider range of flavors! At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • rockandroller

    This is one of those few times I wish I had a house, or at least an apartment with light. I can’t even grow a cactus where I live.

    I’ve not found fresh herbs at any of the farmers markets in town either :( Tarragon in potato salad sounds divine.

  • Charlotte

    I’m with the reader in Minneapolis who can’t figure out why you’re replanting every year — maybe you should mulch? I’m in Montana and my tarragon is so vigorous I keep dividing it — I’m up to 4 big bushy plants and enough to make dried herb and big mason jars of vinegar every year. As for the commenter whose tarragon didn’t taste like anything — you probably got Russian Tarragon, not true tarragon — looks just like it but alas, tastes like nothing. My favorite odd tarragon combo, which I discovered by accident one summer, is green beans from the garden with a little garlic, tarragon and lime — strange but wonderful.

  • French Laundry at Home

    Cilantro tasting like soap or battery acid happens to those who are supertasters. I know that because I am one (it has to do with the concentration and number of tastebuds on your tongue, not that you’re like KryptonMan or anything).

    Also — dill? Would be Debbie Reynolds. Or Carol Channing.

  • carolina girl

    meant to ask my fellow herb lovers….what is your take on a restaurant/chef extremely proud of an herb garden located at ground level in an area about two feet wide between two driveways (yes they are used for parking cars daily) and located in a part of town known for vagrants who…um… are not very choosy about where they urinate? Also this garden has no barriers to discourage visitors such as said vagrants. My take is that the soil is full of human urine, and that directly “feeds” the roots. So if you are what you eat…? If I am being rediculous please be gentle, am I right to be a little grossed out? I will not divulge location or names as truth is still grounds for litigation. I also will add I feel that the chef’s heart is in the right place…just not his garden.
    Just curious to see what y’all say…
    Thanks!

  • Tammy

    You know, you shouldn’t have to replant your tarragon each year. It’s hardy to zone 4 (I’m in Minneapolis) and each year it comes back bigger and better. Sounds like bigger and better is what you need when it comes to tarragon!

  • carolina girl

    Thanks Hank for mentioning tarragon’s lovely Bernaise dance partner chervil.
    Used fresh thyme tonight in a reduction of balsamic, honey, stock, and shrooms. Great over pork. Shrooms optional, hubby loves loves loves ‘em.

    Also never knew the other three people in the room cannot identify the soapy taste of cilantro. I am unique (or at least 1 in 4!) None the less I feel the urge to employ it anyway in my salsa.I use lime to keep it in check. Seems to work okay

    Good luck to all you herb gardeners out there! My climate has been providing me fresh basil for some killer duxelles for about two months now.Mmmmm fresh rocks!

  • Hank

    Tarragon is an iffy herb – Michael no doubt has a good source. It cannot be grown from seed, although the VASTLY inferior Mexican tarragon (not botanically related) can. To me, it’s OK. Not great. Just OK. My fave in spring is chervil, summer is basil and fall-winter is lovage, which is like the love child between parsley and celery.

  • t-scape

    It makes me cry inside when I hear people say they don’t like cilantro. But I too have heard that there is a genetic component to whether or not it tastes like heaven, or like soap.

    To me it tastes divine – but part of my affinity to the herb is that my grandmother cooked with it a lot, and also planted it it in her backyard, and I always rememebr her hands smelled of it. When I smell it on my own hands nowadays, or when it’s aroma fills my house (usually when I use it to make sofrito), it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

    One question – I have been missing having culantro, a close relative to cilantro. I cannot find out out here in the Pacific NW. Has anyone tried growing it with any success?

  • Art Rose

    plant them in large (really big with lots of potting soil) pots, move them next to an accessible, somewhat protected area next to the house in the late fall, cover them with a tarp as winter rolls in, remembering to uncover when warmer or sunny, and you can have fresh herbs most of the winter. tarragon will die and come back for year 2. no basil, but thyme, rosemary, sage, chives, all the hardy types. Of course, i usually lose them being tricked by an april cold snap. but it’s nice in february.

  • Shoebootie

    Taragon is the biggest scam perpetrated on the American public since one-hour martinizing.

  • Danina

    Adrienne, Shannon, Sorcha, agree with you on the ick factor of cilantro, only I think it tastes like wax!

  • latenac

    I love cilantro. I’ve also read that 25% of the population just think it tastes like soap. I’ve seen allergy assigned to it and different enzymes in saliva. Reading about it on e-gullet it appears to be something that can be overcome.

    Tarragon, I want to like it. I don’t actually dislike it but I’m always at a loss for what to do with it. Seems like a good idea when I buy it and I look for things to use it in and then it’s never actually as good as I think it will be. Kind of like sage. I’ll keep trying though. If people can overcome the soap taste of cilantro it seems the least I could do for tarragon.

    I did plant parsley, mint, oregano and rosemary though. Nothing like a summer salad with fresh mint in it. Time to get some basil as well.

  • Claudia

    I love rosemary – smell AND taste. And thyme, of course.

    Vinotas, sorry about your inability to maintain your own herb garden/herb window box because you work between NY and Paris, but surely there are compensations . . . like working between NY and Paris? (!!)

  • sorcha

    Ew, cilantro. I used to work in a Mexican restaurant and I’d have to pick cilantro leaves off the stems for the pico de gallo. My hands would reek of it for days. Also, I don’t like how it tastes. *sides with the anti-cilantro crowd*

    Thyme is highly underrated. And basil. Mmm, bruschetta. The garden guy at my son’s school has been growing basil indoors in window boxes and he was harvesting it yesterday afternoon. The whole hall smelled good.

    I love the smell of rosemary but not so much the taste.

  • Tana

    Fresh tarragon—nothing compares. It goes into my favorite potato salad: new potatoes, fresh English peas, red bell pepper, a little lime-dill salad dressing, and real mayonnaise. With lots of freshly ground pepper.

    Favorite use of fresh herbs: on steamed carrots that have been lightly sautéed with unsalted butter and kosher flake salt. Perfection.

  • parkbench

    I did check the Googles and found someone, with more time on their hands I will ever know, who has put together an anti-cilantro Web site:

    http://ihatecilantro.com/

    I didn’t see anything right away about cilantro tasting like soap, or cilantro aversion begin a genetic thing, but who knows?

    Okay, my own work deadline is calling. Back for more herbaceous discussion later!

    –parkbench

  • Connor

    For those who may not have read it, there was an interesting article (see link below) in the Times a few weeks ago about how to construct a homemade salad table on wheels for shallow-rooted vegetables like arugula, bok choy and herbs. It can also be used indoors in the winter months under fluorescent lights. Upon first read, I thought it sounded like a whole lot of trouble, but fresh arugula in the winter might make it worth it.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/10/garden/10garden.html?ex=1336449600&en=3cfa6d3aadd89371&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

  • Chris Hennes

    I was dismayed last weekend when I snipped a few branches from the tarragon plant I had purchased at a community plant sale to put in my garden: I was all ready for that sweet anise smell to permeate the area, and I got nothing!! Nothing!!!! The plant looks like tarragon, but smells like… a plant. NO!!!! One of this weekend’s projects is to pull it out and put in a plant from a real store. I didn’t even bother tasting it. Without the smell, what would be the point?

  • parkbench

    I have finally broken free from apartment living and this year have my first garden in some time. Being in California, cilantro is almost required (a must for decent salsa). But terragon…mmmmm. I think I’ll pick up a couple more plants this weekend. The sweet basil, oregano, purple sage and rosemary are coming in beautifully and last night I counted 26 little — and a few not-so-little — green tomatoes on my three plants already.

    I now have a clean shelf where all those bottles of dried herbs used to be, and I could never live in an apartment again.

    Now if I can just keep the squirrels out of the potatoes…wish me luck. We’re almost treating them like children (the garden plants, not the squirrels). It’s nuts, but good nuts, I think.

    –parkbench

  • fiat lux

    tarragon – yum.

    cilantro – yuk.

    I vaguely recall reading somewhere that dislike of cilantro might have a genetic component; it hits people on the tastebuds very differently. I’m late for work so can’t Google the reference.

  • Tags

    One of my favorite books is a whimsical mini-encyclopedia of condiments, flowers, fruits, herbs, liquids, roots, spices (and a few harder to categorize ingredients like aloe, anchovies, cheese and chocolate) called “Hints and Pinches”, by Eugene Walter. Mr. Walter is a Southern writer (also hard to categorize) who besides writing for Gourmet, Harper’s Bazaar and Food Arts, has written novels and worked with Fellini as a translator and actor. (He played a Mother Superior in “Juliet of the Spirits.”) I wish I’d had a chance to meet him.

    You can find out some interesting and obscure things about such items as achiote (used by Native Americans as sunblock, leading explorers to report them as “redskins”), “magical” elder bark and berries, asafoetida (use it sparingly, never alone), Elecampane (a principal ingredient in Swiss absinthe), Good King Henry (wilts within an hour), Horehound, and of course, tarragon.

    I originally ordered one copy from Amazon, but they had to cancel the order. Then, I was in a Barnes & Noble store, and there were seven of them at three bucks a pop in the bargain section. I read it for a few minutes and bought all seven. I gave away all but three.

    I keep my copy right next to my Charcuterie first edition.

  • Natalie Sztern

    has anyone heard of the Aerogarden which sits on the countrtop as a self contained unit, needs no soil and has a light that is controlled by a timer… one can grow a variety of herbs. Aerogrow.com and if any readers use it please comment

  • ruhlman

    adrienne! no cilantro either?! what on earth do you like. I’ll bet you’re one of those dill people.

    if we were speed dating this would be a deal breaker.

  • veron

    tarragon…my tarragon…
    Michael , over her in Virginia I hear it is quite hard to grow successfully. I tried in my herb box last year but was not too successful. Any suggestions?

  • Adrienne

    MMMMMmmm, dill. I actually have plans to make a cheese-dill bread today.

    Given my herb druthers, I lean toward oregano, which will make it as a perennial here if I am very dill-igent, and sweet basil and rosemary. Cilantro just tastes like soap to me — and not an especially pleasant soap, if there is such a thing.

  • Neel

    I have to agree with Connor. I like tarragon, but a summer without basil, means a summer without Caprese Salad…

  • Vinotas

    It’s articles like this that make me wish I had an herb garden, but living between Paris and NYC makes it difficult. I’ve actually contemplated finding an isolated part of Central Park (a 10 minute walk from me) and planting a small herb plot. I just don’t think the Rangers would appreciate that.
    And in NYC, “herb” sometimes takes on a different connotation… ;->
    Cheers!

  • Connor

    I just planted two types of tarragon outside — one is labeled French, the other Mexican. Supposedly the Mexican variety has flavors of cinnamon or spice in addition to licorice, but I’ve yet to try it.

    The herb I could absolutely not live without in the summer months, though, is sweet basil, especially when tomatoes are in season!

  • Adrienne

    On my list of herbs that I cannot abide, tarragon is in a close horse race with cilantro for first place. I try to be a good foodie, I do. But tarragon and cilantro are my betes noir (or, perhaps, bete noirs?).

  • Shannon

    I have 3 big terracotta pots in a picture window in my kitchen that I just planted a couple of weeks ago. Tarragon, basil, chives, dill, sage and rosemary. I LOVE it.

  • Claudia

    Ahh, lovely little tarragon – but don’t forget the sultry rosemary! (Would she be say, Gina Lollabrigida or Claudia Cardinale?) VA-voom.

  • ruhlman

    yes, gina. a little more assertive than you usually want but every now and then the right choice.

    Parsley would be Barbara Stanwyck. Elegant but tough, distinctive but also a great character actor.