We have two hundred French tarragon plants at Valentine Farm and because of this, I am always looking for new ways of using this most under used herb. Tarragon is an all or nothing herb – you either love its’ slight anise flavour or you hate it. Kind of like cilantro. I happen to be on the love side and I use the leaves in salads, in sauces, in butters. Tarragon’s flavour requires good judgment in the kitchen, so use a light touch. There are two types of tarragon – French and Russian. It is the French variety you want which is best grown, painstakingly, from cuttings.
At the same time as tarragon is at its’ finest my garlic is scaping. At the Penticton Farmer’s Market garlic scapes reared their pretty heads on Father’s Day weekend. Garlic scapes appear on hardneck garlic varieties (Rocambole). It is also called serpent garlic because a central stalk curls upward as it grows, straightens and forms seed like bulblets. A young scape makes one or two loops before actually straightening out. These curled scapes are tender, great tasting and totally underused.
Garlic Scape and Tarragon “Hummus”
Serves a bunch
2 cups cooked cannellini or white kidney beans
6 garlic scapes, hard stalks snapped off
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh tarragon
1/4 cup parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in your food processor. Taste for salt or more vinegar. This is a very pretty, green hummus. Serve with pita, naan or other breads.