The Secret Ingredient To Give Fries An Earthy Burst Of Flavor

Whether you like thick-cut, shoestring, or crinkle, french fries are an irresistible and ubiquitous comfort. There's nothing more inviting than a plate of fries hot out of the fryer, still glistening with tasty oil that seeps through the crispy exterior into that steaming and pillowy potato interior. Usually, salt is all the seasoning we need to enjoy fries, along with our favorite dipping sauces. But if you're looking for the ultimate flavor upgrade, tarragon is the surprising secret ingredient to sprinkle over fries.

Tarragon is a delicate herb that's famous for its use in French cooking. Its thin and soft green leaves pack a unique flavor profile that combines notes of licorice, mint, vanilla, and eucalyptus with a peppery finish. Tarragon's aroma is sweet and earthy, and its flavors offer an elegant balance of bitter, sweet, and botanical.

Potatoes are hearty and rich in starch, with an earthy flavor profile that tarragon enhances. Sprinkling a little tarragon and salt over hot fries also amplifies the herb's bitter-sweet notes, which adds class to an otherwise one-dimensional salty seasoning.

One of tarragon's most popular usages is in the famed French Béarnaise sauce, a creamy, buttery, tangy sauce to pour over steak. Consequently, tarragon will pair perfectly with both sweet and tangy ketchup and rich, creamy mayo-based sauces, which are two of the most popular dipping sauces for fries.

How to add tarragon to fries

Tarragon tastes best fresh, although you can use it dried. Fresh tarragon has a much more delicate flavor than dried tarragon. Drying herbs concentrates their flavors, so it generally takes a lot less dried tarragon to achieve the same flavor as fresh tarragon. If a recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of dried tarragon, you should add 1 tablespoon of fresh tarragon.

The leaves of fresh tarragon can be prone to bruising, so you should handle them with care as you strip them from their stems. You can add the leaves whole or roughly chopped to french fries fresh out of the fryer or oven. The hot oils from the french fries will help release fresh tarragon's aromas, giving you an earthy, sweet preview of your herb-upgraded fries.

You don't need to use much tarragon on your fries to achieve the desired subtle flavor and aroma. In fact, it's best to start by under-seasoning, because adding too much could overpower the savory flavor of the fries. You can find fresh tarragon sold bundled or packaged in the produce section of most larger grocery stores. That said, fresh tarragon isn't as widely available as other popular herbs, so if you can't find it fresh, dried tarragon is usually available in the spice aisle.