17 January 2008 @ 05:00 pm
Tarragon: Fresh v. Dried  

79¢ tarragon
Originally uploaded by Brother O'Mara

I once had an amazing chicken salad at a bridal shower but to my dismay, failed to secure the recipe from the unfamilliar hostess. I recall flavors of lemon juice, salt and pepper, mayonnaise, and I believe tarragon (the dish had the fresh herb taste of basil with out the licorice-like undertones). Possibly tarragon vinegar was used to cut through the heaviness of the mayonnaise (though I'm sure the lemon juice could do it on its own). The hostess tossed the chicken and dressing with fresh blueberries and served it over a bed of salad greens. It was light, resfreshing, and delicious.

The issue is I'm attempting to recreate it and am having difficulty finding fresh tarragon in my area. What are your thoughts on substituting dried tarragon in a receipe like this? My intent is to let it sit overnight before serving so that the flavors meld together and the dried tarragon absorbs some of the moisture. Do you think I could pull it off?
 
 
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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
sybbissybbis on January 17th, 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
I can't be helpful at all here, unfortunately, but if you get this to work, please share! The description sounds fabulous. :)
Krisquiet000001 on January 18th, 2008 12:26 am (UTC)
It probably won't taste BAD if you use dried tarragon, but it may not taste the same, since dried and fresh herbs do have slightly different flavors. Also, you should use approximately half as much tried herb as you would fresh to start with, since drying also tends to make the flavor stronger.

It may also help to use a combination of dried tarragon and a little bit of some other fresh herb (even just parsley) to give some of that fresh 'green' taste. You could also experiment with tarragon vinegar to bump up the tarragon flavor a little.

I would also definitely go with letting it sit overnight so the dried herb can rehydrate a bit.

(If you do get your hands on fresh tarragon, you can also try freezing some of it. It'll probably be kind of gross looking when it defrosts, but it may be closer to the fresh flavor than dried tarragon is, and in a mixture with other things like mayo if it's all chopped up the fact that it's gone kind of mushy won't matter. :) )
That's Ms Malackey to you: left eyemalackey on January 18th, 2008 12:36 am (UTC)
I find dried tarragon doesn't have the anise-y, licorice flavour that fresh does. Maybe try looking for tarragon infused oils or vinegars if you can't find fresh.
Sometimes it is otherwise: Suspiriaviolethamster on January 18th, 2008 01:22 am (UTC)
I tried using dried herbs in chicken salad once, I wasn't happy with the result as they didn't really soften up.

You could probably find tarragon vinegar in any supermarket, even Heinz makes it now. Or maybe put your dried tarragon in vinegar for a while to absorb the flavor then strain it out.
jilliannnfellfromthesun on January 18th, 2008 01:58 am (UTC)
oooh, Suspiria icon! Don't see that too often, love it!
Pirate Faepirate_fae on January 18th, 2008 05:31 pm (UTC)
First: Love the ancient tarragon picture you uploaded! I remember when my mom's entire spice cabinet was that scary blue color. :-)

Since fresh tarragon has more of an anise-y flavor than basil, I think your idea that it was a tarragon vinegar may be spot on. I concur with the idea of using tarragon vinegar and fresh parsley. I'm wondering if lemon-thyme might have also been present?

vwilliamsvwilliams on January 19th, 2008 12:58 am (UTC)
Come to think of it, the seasoning may have been thyme instead. I made the chicken salad and while it was good, it didn't have that "bite" of seasoning flavor I was looking for. Will have to try it next time.
Heathyr Wynnexopiateslavex on January 25th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
That's funny - I use cut grapes and rosemary in my chicken salad. :D
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )