You may have noticed little green pickles accompanying your charcuterie platter.
These pickles are what? They are garnish, but they are not the only representative of the vegetable kingdom.
Cornichons are also known as “KOR-neeshons” and are tiny pickles.
They are mildly sweet and tart, making a great garnish for classic charcuterie items like pates, terrines, and the rest.
What are cornichons?
Cornichons are small pickled cucumbers, gherkins, or tart cornichons. They are usually approximately the same size as a child’s finger in length and roughly the same width. They can be sold in English-speaking countries and France under this name. However, some people may refer to them simply as small gherkins.
These pickles can be served with other pickled vegetables as hors d’oeuvres or on vegetable plates.
They are great as finger food and can be used with mild or sharp cheese.
You can also pair them with a variety of mixed olives, cured ham, or other smoked meats.
Served in the French manner
Cornichons can be prepared in many ways in France.
For example, they can be served alongside smoked ham or as a side dish.
They are great with many Italian types of meat, such as prosciutto and most other smoked and salted meats.
Cornichons or goujons is another popular recipe that is similar to British fish and chips.
These are small pieces of white fish such as cod or sole that are deep-fried and then dipped into tartar sauce with the gherkins.
The way vinegar (or spirit vinegar) is added is very like the way UK pubs and similar establishments all over the world that enjoy UK pub food serve fish and chips.
Served in the Swiss-French manner
Raclette is a classic French and Swiss delicious dish that uses these pickles along with semi-soft cheese specifically made from cow’s milk.
It is usually heated in a small iron.
Place the warm, gooey cheese on plates and serve with pickled onions or smoked meats.
Baby pickles can be used in many ways.
Some people like to slice them and put them in salad dressings, or just add them to salads that are meant to be quirky, flavorful, and tart.
Baby pickles are highly appealing because they are versatile when used in cooking, they give food a tart flavor or that extra tart bite when it is needed, and they’re delicious.
Note that it is unusual and probably unwelcome to serve salty cornichons!
English speakers don’t say “cornichons”
English-speaking people don’t say “cornichons”, they say “gherkins”, or “pickles”.
The name refers to a small cucumber variety that has been pickled.
This is a small cucumber that has been pickled in some other solution, usually involving vinegar or brine. Afterward, it must be allowed to ferment for some time.
The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines the British meanign of gherkins.
Dictionary.com gives the American definition of pickles.
How cornichons are used
Your recipes may quickly become overwhelmed by typical charcuterie items such as liver pate, pork sausage, garlic sausage, country-style pork terrine, and pork rillettes.
Some people eat only half of a cornichon per bite. Therefore, when you assemble a charcuterie platter, be generous with cornichons, as they are rarely forgotten by connoisseurs.
Many recipes include chopped cornichons such as beef stroganoff or steak tartare.
Cornichons complement pork dishes like grilled pork chops and are a key ingredient in charcuterie sauce.
This classic sauce for pork is made by sauteeing minced onions in butter or lard with a smattering of bay leaves and then adding vinegar, demi-glace, and then reducing.
Finally, you add julienned cornichons.
Cornichons can be added to sandwiches or speared on a toothpick. Such neat little bites are also great with devilled eggs.
Although no one is likely to eat cornichons purely for the health benefit, it is good to know that they are a fantastic source of vitamin C.
The taste of cornichons described
Cornichons have a tart, sweet taste and a briny flavor that is enhanced by the use of herbs and spices in the pickling process.
They are crisp and crunchy but not as sour as dill pickles.
They have a refreshing and zesty taste and perfectly offset charcuterie plates’ rich flavors or the heavy richness in steak tartare.
Places where to purchase cornichons
Cornichons can be found in some local markets, most grocery stores, as well as specialty food shops.
They can be found with pickles or huddled together with mustards and pickled condiments such as olives or artichokes.
If your supermarket or grocery has one, you might also find them at the salad bar or olive bar.
Pickles can be made-at-home, and the recipes are easy to find. The hardest thing about making pickles is finding small cucumbers.
However, parigno cornichon pickling cubes are a great choice.
After washing the cucumbers and drying them, put them in sterilized containers. Next, add pearl onions, peppercorns, peppercorns, and salt.
Cover everything with white wine vinegar and put the containers in a fridge. The cornichons will be perfect in about a week.
If the pickle jars are sterilized before use, the cornichons will last for several months.
General information on French cornichons
Although pickles aren’t a big part of French cuisine, cornichons play a significant role alongside pates, terrines, and meats, as well as cheese and charcuterie plates.
French cornichons, which are small pickles that have a bumpy outside, a tart taste, a crunchy texture, and are roughly the same size as your pinky finger.
These tiny cucumber cousins make a great appetizer, but can appear in other dishes also.
There are many types of gherkin plants that can make cornichons. The recipe is easy to follow, even though it can be difficult to find the right cucumber in the US.
If making your own, please remember that cornichons must rest after being canned for at least three weeks, preferably up to four.
The fin de Meaux cucumber is one of the most popular cucumbers for cornichons.
You can also use the Parisienne cornichon des Bourbonne (also called the Parisienne cornichon de Bourbonne) cucumbers. Pickling cucumbers can be cut into spears of ½ inch.
Growing one’s own gherkins
Rather than buy cornichons, it is possible to purchase the seeds to grow your own cornichons, especially if you have trouble finding French varieties.
This method can take longer than the usual three to four-week canning process, so plan ahead.
If you have good conditions for growing them, simply add ten weeks to the processing time to account for the period it takes to grow them.
If you don’t have a canner, place the jars in a large pot of boiling water.
After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and carefully take the jars out of the water.
How to store cornichons
Pickling is a very effective way to preserve food because the acid in vinegar and the sugar in the brine creates an environment that is hostile to bacteria that can cause food spoilage.
A cornichon jar unopened has a very long shelf life.
A jar of cornichons, once opened, will last many months if stored in the fridge.
Frequently Asked Questions About What Are Cornichons
Does “cornichon” mean “pickle”?
The difference between pickle and cornichon is that pickle is a cucumber that has been stored in a liquid. In contrast, a cornichon can be described as a pickled gherkin cucumber.
Is “gherkin” simply another name for baby cucumbers?
Gherkins or baby pickles are small cucumbers that range from 1 inch to 5 inches and can be translated to augurken (or gurken) in the modern era. Often used for pickling, Gherkin is an early Dutch word that means “tiny pickled cucumber”.
Afterword: What are cornichons?
Cornichons are made from mini gherkin tubes, between one and two inches long.
They are harvested at full maturity and then sliced for extra tartness.
These are a great choice for balancing cheese, pate, or cured meats.
For the perfect garnish on your sliders, you can spear one with a toothpick.
They make an excellent tartar sauce for fried seafood and are essential to authentic steak tartare.