James Beard once said, “Tarragon is the best friend a chicken ever had.” Since I was brought up on free-range chicken cooked by a mother who knew how to produce delicious chicken dinners, I was a little skeptical.
As far as I knew, Mom didn’t have any tarragon in her spice cabinet. For fried chicken she used salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and flour. She added a bay leaf, a couple of cloves, a little garlic powder and some bouillon cubes when she made chicken and dumplings. When she roasted chickens or turkeys she included sage and ground cloves or all spice in the dressing.
But I put together a marinade using tarragon as the only spice and after my first taste of the chicken I knew that Beard was right. Here is a what may be the simplest marinade you can make for a chicken.
6 to 8 pieces of fresh frying chicken
1/3 cup olive oil
4 T wine vinegar
4 T lemon juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried tarragon or 2 tsp. chopped fresh tarragon
Put the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and tarragon in a small jar. Cover and shake to mix well. Put the chicken in a stainless steel or glass mixing bowl. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, turning the chicken to spread the marinade over the pieces. Grill over a low to medium charcoal fire. Use the excess marinade for basting.
Wonderful with a fresh fruit salad and baked potato.