So there I was, with a bunch of tarragon wilting in the fridge, trying to figure out how I could use it up.
It's not one of my most used herbs - parsley, basil, thyme and coriander (cilantro) regularly make it onto my shopping list, but tarragon - I rarely ever use it. But, I decided, its sweet aniseed flavour was definitely destined for my tummy rather than the bin.
I asked on Twitter for some ideas. Tarragon vinegar was a good one - and one I've put on my list to try. And then someone (thanks @rusthallbint) suggested I make tarragon mayonnaise.
I always loved Bearnaise sauce with a steak - something about that rich, wobbly sauce and the speckled green of the tarragon just lifting the whole thing. Every time I craved steak, I craved tarragon. I even made a tarragon butter, just for steak. And if there was one way I was going to make the most of this leafy bunch of leaves in the fridge door, it was as mayonnaise and eaten with a beautiful medium-pink rib-eye.
Of course, this mayo isn't just for steak. We found it works brilliantly with salmon, chicken, parsnip fries and spooned on the edge of a salad. It's beautiful with hard-boiled eggs, too.
I never found making mayonniase very easy. You have to trickle the oil in very gently and carefully, almost drop by drop. Those 'foolproof' techniques with the stick blender and the jug never worked with me. This is the only way I make it now, and it works every time. Just go easy on the oil.
The method I use for all my homemade mayo is the one featured on Nom Nom Paleo. I've just tweaked it a little bit over the years, but the recipe is only just adapted from the one used by Michelle. What can I say? It really works.
Paleo Tarragon Mayonnaise
Makes about three-quarters of a cup
1 egg yolk
half teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp cider vinegar
good pinch of salt
2/3 cup regular olive oil (not extra virgin)
1-2 tablespoons freshly chopped tarragon
Crack the egg yolk into a large mixing bowl and add the mustard, cider vinegar and the pinch of salt. Whisk to combine.
Next, start to trickle in the olive oil, whisking rapidly all the time. You might need to recruit someone to hold the bowl as you whisk, or use an electric whisk. The main thing is that as a trickle of oil hits that egg yolk mixture, it needs to be quickly whisked in. Keep going - this takes me about 5-10 minutes by hand. You should end up with a mayonnaise with a rich, silky and glossy texture.
Chop the tarragon fairly finely and stir it into the mayonnaise. This gets better the longer it sits and the longer the tarragon infuses its flavour, but it'll last for 2-3 days in the fridge. Just in time for all those barbecues this summer.
Are you interested in paleo and AIP compliant curries, stir-fries, roasts, desserts and drinks? Check out my ebook SPICE, available to download in the Kindle store now, which contains over 90 recipes featuring herbs and spices on the autoimmune protocol.