Tarragon is a leafy green widely used in French cuisine. It's distinctive yet subtle herbal flavor is particularly well suited to use with fish and chicken.
When and Where to Buy Tarragon
Tarragon is a spring and summer herb. It will show up in winter in warmers climates and at the end of winter in temperate climates or from growers using greenhouses. Otherwise, fresh tarragon is usually only available in spring and into summer in cooler areas. Like many green herbs, heat will cause tarragon to bolt and turn bitter.
Tarragon isn't as common as parsley or cilantro, however, so you'll probably need to hunt it down at specialty stores or farmers markets or even grow it yourself.
How to Use Tarragon
Tarragon is one of the herbs used to make fines herbes (the others are parsley, chervil, and chives), a delicate herb blend used extensively in French cooking. Tarragon is delicious in salad dressings and in sauces.
What If You Can't Find Tarragon?
On the one hand, nothing else will really taste like tarragon; on the other hand, either parsley or chervil (or, even better, a combination of the two) can add that fresh-green-herb note in a recipe when tarragon is not to be found.