Tarragon Is The Secret Ingredient That Takes Fries To The Next Level

Dried tarragon in a bowl
Dried tarragon in a bowl - Lunov Mykola/Shutterstock

You usually can't go wrong with greasy, crispy french fries, a dusting of salt, and a flavorful dipping sauce. However, sometimes the classic side calls for a little more than just good old-fashioned sodium chloride. Seasoning and oil blends can help your taters taste like fast food fries, but one ingredient in particular can put the "French" back in your french fries: tarragon.

It may sound surprising at first, but the herb can take fries up a notch, and you don't need a lot — just enough to impart its flavorful fragrance and taste. Common in French cuisine, the aromatic herb is used in many different recipes from spice blends to chicken, soups, egg dishes, salads, and beyond. With a warm, sweet smell and a flavor that is reminiscent of licorice or anise — in fact, the compound responsible for the taste, estragole, is also found in fennel and anise — tarragon adds a complexity to your fries that's hard to place, and even harder to beat.

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The Herb Can Lend A Sophisticated Flavor To Your Fries

Tarragon leaves on surface
Tarragon leaves on surface - Ayimages/Getty Images

Sometimes referred to as the "king of herbs" in France for its unique, complex flavor and countless uses, tarragon is the herb used in traditional French recipes like Béarnaise sauce, but that doesn't mean it doesn't belong on your fries. You can incorporate the herb into your homemade fry recipe by tossing your cooked fries in a mixture of salt and chopped fresh or dried tarragon. The key is making sure that the tarragon is evenly distributed throughout the fries, so each fry is enhanced with a hint of its flavor. You can also give your frozen fries a bistro-worthy makeover by tossing them with tarragon after you've cooked them in the oven, skillet, or air fryer.

When using it on your fries, keep in mind the flavor of tarragon is more concentrated in its dried form, and the powerful flavor of the herb could risk turning off some eaters. After all, the herb's bittersweet anise taste is the reason many people hate black licorice, so going all in on tarragon might not be well-advised -- less is often more. If you still want a hint of tarragon on your fries but you're worried about overdoing it, some recipes call for tarragon salt or a side of tarragon aioli.

Read the original article on Mashed.