I was in my 30s before I discovered the joy of cooking with fresh tarragon. This amazes me. I wonder how I could have lived for so long without this deliciously aromatic herb.
Now, I can't get enough. The anise-flavored leaves are used in a variety of dishes and sauces, including the classic French bearnaise sauce and the American 'green goddess' sauce.
Lucky for me, it's a summer and early fall herb, which makes it widely available in stores now.
I enjoy it with fish, especially perch, but my favorite pairing is with chicken and bacon. This recipe is adapted from a recipe by Fran Warde, the matron saint of all things tarragon and all things French. She pairs the flavorful herb with bacon, shallots, and chicken thighs to create this crowd-pleasing dish.
Tarragon Chicken with Zesty Pappardelle
8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
6 large shallots, cut in half
3 strips of bacon, roughly chopped
4 large bay leaves
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1/2 cups white wine
2 large bunches tarragon, chopped
1 pound pappardelle pasta
Zest from 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Salt and pepper the chicken thighs and place them in a large baking dish. Add the bay leaves, and then the bacon. Place the shallots in between the thighs and bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the white wine, mustard, and tarragon together and set aside.
Cook the pasta in salted water, following the instructions for timing on the package. Drain, and then add the olive oil, chopped parsley, lemon zest, squeeze of lemon juice, and salt to taste. Toss and set aside.
When the chicken has baked for 40 minutes, remove it from the oven and pour the tarragon sauce over the chicken to coat evenly.
Return to the oven for 10 minutes. Serve the chicken over the pasta. This dish also pairs well with grilled sweet pepper and kalamata salad for an early fall backyard dinner.