Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tarragon and Thyme Quiche

Tarragon, known as the King of Herbs in France, is an herb used mostly in classic French cuisine for vinegar, salad dressings, Béarnaise sauce, and homemade mustard. When paired with parsley, chives and chervil, it becomes the seasoning blend known as fines herbes. The name originates from the Latin word dracunculus, meaning little dragon. After being translated in Arabic to tarkhum and in French to esdragon the herb’s name evolved into a combination of both words to form tarragon.

Tarragon is part of a family of herbs known as the Dragon Herbs, due to their snake-like root system, and because of their serpentine roots, the Dragon herbs were used as medicine in medieval times to cure stings, snake bites and the injuries sustained from rabid animals. French Tarragon possesses an essential volatile oil, chemically identical with that of Anise, and when used fresh, with a light hand, adds a sweet licorice essence to the dish. It compliments most vegetables, fish, poultry, soups, egg dishes, herbed butter or mayonnaise, and makes plain white vinegar dazzle for use in sauces and mustards. However, the anise-like oils are lost when the herb is dried and if the herb is cooked too long it becomes bitter.

Sometimes I try a recipe with a strange ingredient combination out of curiosity and sometimes it’s simply because everyone else is afraid to try it. (Remind me some time to tell you about Pineapple-Garlic Upside Down Cake!) When I stumbled onto the recipe for Tarragon-Thyme Quiche, posted to by Starman, I thought there must be a typo in the ingredients. I couldn’t imagine a savory pie filling inside a cookie crust, but the recipe had not yet been reviewed by another chef, so I knew I had to try it.

I admit I had my doubts right up until I was serving it, so even though my family is game to try anything once, I didn't tell them about the ingredients until I heard a lot of, "Mmmmm!" going on around the table. The dish strikes a balance between sweet and savory that is very satisfying, and with many ingredient variations available, this recipe is an excellent way to clean out the fridge at the end of the week. I used all fresh herbs, smoked Swiss cheese, turkey-bacon, white onion, green bell pepper, 2% milk and the graham cracker crust option. Every ingredient came together, melding into one beautiful harmony. So, get in touch with your adventurous side and give this quiche a try!

Tarragon and Thyme Quiche

1 comment:

  1. I admit to you Lorilyn that I am just starting to include tarragon in some recipes; my desr husband says he doesn't like it. I planted some this year in my herbs containers and will slowly introduce it.Great post. That quiche looks pretty good.


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