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Leahs Fresh French Tarragon Salad Dressing

July 28, 2008

This is one of my staple homemade salad dressings I have done for years and finally decided to share here – I learned this one while traveling to the French Riviera and seemed to be on every salad we ate – creamy but not naughty – neat thing, if you do this in a blender, you can actually make a ‘light’ version – see directions – otherwise great to serve over salad greens, over steamed veggies and even fish – also makes a nice light marinade for chicken. Flavors get a little stronger as they marry and get to know one another and you can easily adjust to your palette should you want to add more honey, salt or vinegar, etc.


  • I eyeball the amounts, but I believe when I made this last night, that these measurements come quite close.
  • 3 tablespoons fresh tarragon minced
  • 4 tablespoons WHITE balsamic vinegar (use apple cider vinegar in stead if you don’t have white balsamic – but you should buy this the next time you are at the store – its very nice!)
  • 2-3 tablespoons good honey
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon grainy for a more artisan look or creamy (preferred) dijon mustard or spicy mustard
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon lite mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup or more water (if making a light version)
  • bowl and good whisk or blender
  • 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh cracked pepper


  1. In bowl, add all of the following: tarragon, garlic, salt and pepper, mayonnaise, mustard, honey, vinegar and lemon juice.
  2. Whisk till combined.
  3. Slowly , really slowly drizzle olive oil while continuing to whisk to create an emulsion.
  4. If this is too difficult for you – use the blender on a low setting but add the tarragon last and by hand so it doesn’t pulverize the tarragon.
  5. If making a light version, use only half of the olive oil while making this in the blender, once emulsified, add water slowly – this will keep the dressing emulsified yet creating a creamy type salad dressing.
  6. Then add your minced tarragon by hand and set aside.
  7. Taste test your salad dressing, add a little more honey if it has too much of a bite for your tastes, or more lemon juice if you need more, etc.
  8. I usually prepare this before serving up my salad and let it sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to marry, then save any unused portion in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
  9. This will keep for two weeks. And as mentioned, this is great over your poached fish dishes, used as a marinade for shrimp or chicken to be grilled and is nice as a dressing over your potato or pasta salads.
  10. The dressing has a fresh bright creamy goodness which makes you want only more. Enjoy!
  11. Photo is borrowed from christinecooks blog

One Comment leave one →
  1. Sharon permalink
    April 29, 2009 3:38 pm

    I wish I had found this recipe sooner, it is absolutely delicious! I have been looking for a tarragon dressing for awhile. I love it with mixed greens, goat cheese and grapes. The only change I made was, half the amt of lemon juice, because I’m not a big fan of lemon juice and food mix. ( I can hear the gasps from here!)
    Thank you!

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