With the charming alternate name dragon's-wort, tarragon is a perennial herb with a distinctive flavor and a crazy wide range of culinary applications. Our "true" French tarragon has a delicate anise scent and is hard to source because the majority of seeds never take root.
Tarragon leaf does not share the long, pre-Roman history of use that most popular herbs do, having come into popularity in France a mere 500 years ago, in the 1600s.
Tarragon is used to flavor a popular carbonated soft drink, Tarhun, in the countries of the former USSR. The soda is made out of sugary tarragon concentrate and is colored bright green. In Slovenia, tarragon is used as a spice for sweet pastry called potica.
Tarragon leaf is a crucial ingredient in the Herbes de Provence blend [and one of the four *fines herbes* as well]. Tarragon leaf also appears in many classic French sauces including béarnaise, hollandaise, tartar and béchamel. Tarragon is popular in flavored vinegars, mustards, salad dressings and vinaigrettes of all kinds.
Closer to home, Tarragon is excellent with seafood, fruits, poultry, eggs and most vegetables. Use tarragon leaf for making herb butters, and try it in cream soup recipes.
Tarragon can easily dominate other flavors, and care should be taken when using tarragon.