Tarragon Corn

Recently I had the privilege of dining with one of my favorite food bloggers, Carol Blymire, who after cooking her way through the French Laundry cookbook and blogging about it, is tackling an even more absurdly wonderful but complicated project with her blog Alinea at Home. Hank, his girlfriend Holly and I met up with Carol at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville, north of Napa. One of my favorite dishes of the evening was a simple side in which corn kernels had been slowly cooked in butter and Pernod and tossed with fresh tarragon. This is my attempt to recreate the dish and I think we’ve come pretty close. With all the fresh tarragon growing in my garden I’ve been on the lookout for recipes that would use it well. Who knew corn and tarragon were such a perfect match? The tarragon just seems to make the corn taste more exquisitely sweet, without being overbearing.

Regarding the anise liqueur the recipe calls for, I think it's a nice touch, but not necessary. You'll get enough of the flavor with the tarragon if you are avoiding alcohol or don't have an anise liqueur on hand.


  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (can sub onions)
  • 3 cups corn (from about 4 ears of corn)*
  • 1 Tbsp of an anise liqueur such as Ouzo, Pernod, Pastis or Sambuca (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt if using unsalted butter, more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp packed, minced fresh tarragon
  • Dash of white pepper (or black pepper if white is unavailable)

* If using fresh corn, to remove corn from the cob first remove the husks and strings. Stand the corn up with the tip down in a large shallow pan like a baking dish. Using a sharp chef's knife, use long downward strokes to remove the corn kernels from the cob. You might find it easier to use a bundt pan to hold the ear of corn and catch the kernels. Or you can use a corn stripper.


1 Melt the butter in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes.

2 Add the corn, salt, and anise liqueur if using (if not using, add 1 Tbsp water). Bring to a simmer, cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the corn is tender.

3 Remove from heat, stir in the tarragon. Add pepper and more salt to taste.

Main Ingredients