Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Green Beans with Tarragon Vinaigrette

LESLIE: Don’t tell Mr. Right, but I’m in love with tarragon.

Actually, he won’t mind---he is, too. 

I’m sure I’ve told you before that we truly discovered tarragon on the month-long trip to France a few years ago that changed our relationship to food and cooking. We love the herb’s fresh taste with a hint of anise. I also love that I can keep a 99 cent pot of it growing on the back porch all summer, bring it in, and have fresh tarragon all winter. (I’ve actually gotten two full growing seasons and two winters out of one plant!)

Julia Child’s classic recipe, dubbed Chicken Julia in our house, features tarragon and shallots in a white-wine glaze and reduction. This recipe uses white wine vinegar to infuse flavor into tarragon and shallots, with olive oil, mustard, and seasoning added later to make a vinaigrette—a few minutes is all it takes. In fact, the entire recipe only takes about 15 minutes.

We ate these green beans with Baked Tilapia, but they would also be tasty with chicken. I’ve dumped a spoonful of leftovers on top of a green salad with arugula. Or enjoy them on a cool fall evening when you’ve got an urge to pretend you’re spending the summer in France. 

Green Beans with Tarragon Vinaigrette

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves, minced
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
1 pound green beans, trimmed (cut in half if you’d like)
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon or coarse-grain mustard
kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, or the beaker of an immersion blender, mix the vinegar, tarragon, and shallots. Set aside.

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and return to a boil, cooking about 4 minutes, until the beans are tender-crisp and still bright green. Drain into a colander and immediately rinse with cold water, stirring to release the steam and stop the cooking. Place in a shallow serving bow. 

Add the oil, mustard, salt, and pepper to the vinegar mixture and whisk or blend with the immersion blender. Drizzle on to the beans and stir well to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Serve at room temperature. 

Bon Appetit!

"Budewitz's finely drawn characters, sharp ear for dialogue, and well-paced puzzle make Jewel Bay a destination for every cozy fan." --- Kirkus Reviews

From the cover of AS THE CHRISTMAS COOKIE CRUMBLES, Food Lovers' Village Mystery #5 (Midnight Ink,  available in trade paper, e-book, and audio):  

In Jewel Bay---Montana's Christmas Village---all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily’s turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.

When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. A past president of Sisters in Crime, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.


  1. My problem is finding a tarragon plant in SC. I’m sure they exist, just not where I have looked.

    1. That's surprising, esp with your long growing seasons. You might need to call around to some nurseries. But you can also use fresh tarragon from the grocery for this dish.

  2. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  3. I'm encouraged now by your recipes to explore cooking the French way. Thanks!

  4. A lovely recipe, but I'm just not fond of Tarragon (anise). I'll think about an alternative herb and enjoy it.

  5. I’d like to try some herbs. This might be a good one to start with. Any thoughts about how it might do in Arizona summertime? I’ll look for a pot of it to start with. I have a mint plant that is thriving. We have it under the water spigot so it gets drips and drops often. I just don’t use it for anything! I could make tea...I’m actually drinking mint tea...from a teabag. ���� how weird is that??

    1. Too funny about the mint, so well known for taking over any garden where it's given a chance! I'd plant your tarragon in a plastic pot, not clay, so it can stay cooler, and put it in a spot that gets a fair amount of shade, say on a porch or deck, and keep it nicely moistened. Tarragon dries beautifully, and you should have plenty to dry and use later. Good luck!

  6. I love Christmas themed books!