At Inspired Occasions we are constantly searching for new and innovative dishes to wow and amaze our client's and their guests.
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As we create each new dish we will define our inspiration, discuss challenges, present our solutions and post some great pictures along the way.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Study of Lemon and Tarragon

Tarragon is an amazing herb.  Bright intense flavors with complex undertones and a beautiful aroma should place this herb as my main contender for most used herb in the garden.  Sadly this has not been the case for far too long, but no more!  This summer I have found the perfect partner for my flourishing tarragon plants, the bright and citrusy snap of lemon.

What better format to express these two perfectly paired partners than a cocktail?  Introducing the Tarragon Lemon Fizz; tarragon infused lemonade mixed with Hendricks Gin, topped with prosecco and finished with a tarragon sugar rim.  The tarragon adds a beautiful herbal balance to the tart and sweet lemonade while the gin provides a subtle spice and a fresh hint of cucumber.  The dry prosecco finishes the drink with a smooth bubbly tingle on your tongue.  The sugar rim completes the drink with a hint of sweetness to make this cocktail a true classic.  

The beauty of tarragon is that it plays well with others in both savory and sweet applications.  Here we present our newest savory bite, smoked goat cheese rolled in tarragon in a crisp prosciutto cup.  This is then topped with a warm lemon blueberry compote and finished with diced preserved lemon.   This is a culinary journey neither you nor your taste buds will soon forget!  The salty and crispy prosciutto cup is perfect textural balance to the warm and smooth goat cheese with its hint of smoke accentuated by the sweet tarragon.  The intense blueberry lemon compote adds yet another fresh and bold layer and texture with the diced salty bits of preserved lemon finishing off the journey.  A perfect expression of the season in every bite. 

Tarragon is also a very delicate herb, soft and sweet but regal and classic.  It also adds a French influence to any dish it graces.  With that in mind I ventured back to an old classic, oil poached lobster tail, and started to rework the recipe.  Presenting our Lemon and Tarragon Oil Poached Lobster tail on roasted fingerling potatoes tossed with shaved white onion and fennel, garnished with oven roasted grape tomatoes and finished with a warm drizzle of the poaching oil.  The lobster was moist and delicate with a sweet and delicate aroma wafting from the plate coaxing you to dive right in.  Each bite of the sweet lobster was perfectly balanced with the herbal hits of tarragon and the bright citrus bite of lemon.  The roasted potatoes were the perfect textural balance, adding a slight crunch from the roasted edges and the raw shaved fennel and white onion. The final drizzle of the poaching oil brought the whole party together for a perfectly harmonious orchestra of flavors.   

If there is any other ingredient that could add to the perfect culinary chemistry that is tarragon and lemon it would have to be blueberries.    They are the sweet fruity connector that makes great dishes possible.  Let me introduce our newest dessert sensation, sautéed lemon and tarragon blueberry Tea cake paired with preserved lemon ice cream, drizzled with hot toddy syrup made of lemon, honey and bourbon, then sprinkled with preserved lemon.  Breathtaking!  This dish has everything you need, the cake takes a beautiful crust with the sweet and salty preserved lemon ice cream acting as a perfect foil to the blueberries and tarragon in the cake, but the finisher here is the hot toddy syrup adding a hit of honey and bourbon brings each bite to life!  The final bites of diced preserved lemon add a great salty pop to keep your taste buds engaged with every forkful. 

Some pairings are just too perfect, they need to be explored expanded and played with in such a way to bring out the best in every flavor.  Tarragon and Lemon have kept us inspired and will be playing a major part in this summer’s culinary adventures. Stay tuned for more inspired dishes from Lon Lane's Inspired Occasions Research and Development Department!