It’s only the beginning of May, but I already face the over-abundant herb “problem” with some perennial plants. Chives, mint, parsley, thyme and tarragon have perfectly survived winter on my balcony and the latter has been growing so quickly this spring, I have to harvest it at least twice a week! When I started cooking with fresh tarragon a couple of years ago the first thing I learnt was it was always good with eggs, so this quick salad was the first thing I thought about. If, like me, you are used to egg salads with chives, add some fresh tarragon and you will be surprised at the difference and elegance it adds to such a humble dish.
Tarragon is one of those herbs which change completely once dried (and by change I mean it loses a lot in both taste and aroma not to mention the pleasant fresh touch…). When fresh, it has a delicate anise scent and its soft leaves are perfect for raw salads, sauces or dressings together. It also pairs well with other fresh herbs, especially chives and grows easily (even on a tiny balcony). If you grow tarragon for the first time, make sure it’s labelled “French tarragon” and not “Russian”, which apparently has harsher flavours and grows much much bigger, so if like me, you have small growing space, you might prefer French one for this reason too. Another tip: growing tarragon from seeds is very difficult and/or long (some say it’s even impossible), so I advise buying a potted plant in a gardening shop or taking a piece of a well-establish plant with roots by division, if you have a kind friend or neighbour who grows it. It’s apparently also possible with cuttings, but I’ve never succeeded this way. It’s a perennial, so if you protect it or move indoors during winter, it will grow back every year.
TIPS: This sauce tastes much better after several hours or a night in the fridge (the salad can also be made well in advance).
If you don’t have turmeric, just skip it. I admit I’ve added it mainly for the colour (and also because I add turmeric wherever I can!).
For me capers are as obvious with eggs as chives or tarragon, but if you don’t like them, replace them for example with gherkins or some other chopped sour pickles, otherwise the salad will be bland.
Preparation: about 10 minutes (if you have already cooked your eggs)
Ingredients (serves four as a small snack):
4-5 eggs, hard-boiled and shelled
4 heaped tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon leaves (leave out the stalks, apart from the very soft top ones)
4 heaped tablespoons chopped chives or green parts of spring onions
2 flat tablespoons drained capers (if they were preserved in salt, rinse them and dry before using)
125 ml natural yogurt (for example Greek yogurt)
60 ml mayonnaise (you can use low-fat mayonnaise or skip it and add more yogurt, though make sure the sauce isn’t too acid)
1/2 teaspoon mustard (paste)
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste
Prepare the sauce.
Cut up the eggs (or chop/crush them if you want a chunky spread for example) and mix with the sauce.
Serve preferably very cold (it also gets better after several hours in the fridge).