Pickles are not a huge part of French cooking. However, they certainly have their role alongside the pâtés and terrines, rillettes and meats, so that is where you will usually find them.
Here, this cornichon pickles recipe, it is for the tart, little pickles traditionally served with appetizer platters, smoked meat and fish, and in tartines. Cornichons are, in fact, gherkins but small tiny sweet ones and so easy to eat.
These homemade treats are so easy to make and have a delicious advantage over store-bought gherkins that they are smaller and sweeter so are ready to eat much sooner than the larger varieties.
Use this recipe and learn how to make cornichon pickles in your own kitchen.
- 2 pounds fin de meaux cucumbers (2-inches long is best) or pickling cucumbers cut into 1/2-inch spears
- 1/2 cup kosher salt, divided
- 2 cups white distilled vinegar
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped white onion
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
- 1 teaspoon chopped, fresh dill
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- 2 cloves
- 2 bay leaf
Toss the cucumbers in 1/4 cup plus two tablespoons of the salt. Then, arrange the cucumber in a single layer on a double-layer of clean kitchen towels to salt and drain the cucumbers. Allow the salt to draw the moisture out of the cucumbers into the paper towel for 90 minutes. Once ready, rinse the cucumbers thoroughly.
In a medium non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, 2 cups water, and the remaining salt to a boil over medium-high heat.
Sterilize 2 x 1-pint jars, along with their lids and rings, and keep them hot until ready to fill with the pickling mixture.
Divide the onions, garlic, chopped dill, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaves between the two sterilized jars.
Pack the cucumber into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace from the top of the jars. Fill the jars with the hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1/4-inch headspace form the top of the jars. Tap the jars to remove any air bubbles, cap the jars, and process them for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. If you do not have a canner, then palce the jars into a latge pot of water, bring to the boil for 10 minutes, switch off the heat and then carefully reove the jars from the water.
Cool the jars, and store them in a cool, dark place for at least 3 to 4 weeks before opening.
This cornichon pickles recipe makes two 1-pint jars or 12 to 16 servings.