cornichon

Cornichons aren’t your average pickles. Although they may look like regular ol’ pickles (albeit in miniature) with their bumps, brininess and typical pickle green color, they’re a tad different. And a ton of delicious.

These nubby condiments are closely related to cucumbers, although not the ones we’re typically accustomed to. Cornichons grow from a particular species of cucumber, which produces smaller fruit than your average cuke. Cornichons also require quick harvesting (sometimes multiple times a day) to keep them at their miniature size. Generally, they’re harvested at one to two inches in length.

The English call them gherkins, but they’re sold under the French name, cornichons, in the U.S. You likely won’t find them at your local farmers market, but they often come already pickled in the jar, ready to be added to appetizer plates, sandwiches and as a garnish to anything fried. You may be able to find them sweet or dill flavored, too.

They’re often pickled in vinegar with garlic and pearl onions, and they traditionally accompany pâté and cheese plates. Cornichons are a tasty, briny accessory to salads of any sort. Chop them up and add them to crunchy leafy salads, egg salads and potato salads. They also go particularly well with seafood. Delish!

If you want to test out your green thumb by growing your own cornichons, you can find heirloom varieties commonly used in French gardens at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and Seed Savers Exchange.

image: wouf_is_wouf

Follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirsten_hudson