The Essential Guide to Cornichons

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CornichonsCornichons are, at their simplest, French gherkins. However there is more to these tiny pickled cucumbers than their size would suggest.

Far smaller in size than the dill pickles favoured by Eastern Europeans, and less sweet than the gherkins used in the USA (most often associated with hamburgers), cornichons reflect the delicate flavours of the French cuisine and are used throughout France in a wide variety of dishes.

All gherkins are graded by the number of fruit found in each kilogram. Therefore, the larger the grade, the smaller the fruit. The Essential Ingredient cornichons are graded 150+ (over 150 individual fruit per kg), the consistency of their size ensuring premium appearance in your chosen use.

Unlike most commonly available ‘French’ cornichons, which are typically grown in India or the Middle East, preserved in acetic acid and processed further in France, The Essential Ingredient cornichons are made of the fresh calypso variety and are grown entirely in France.

The fruit is preserved in a soft vinegar solution with tarragon and mustard seed, that is neither overly sweet, nor aggressively acidic.

Cornichons are traditionally served as an accompaniment to cold or boiled meats, steak tartare, pâtés, terrines and rillettes. They are also an ingredient in many classic French sauces- gribiche, piquante, charcutiere, hachée, ravigote, reform- most of which are seldom used these days.

One French cornichon-filled sauce that has survived is sauce tartare, still the preferred accompaniment for grilled or fried fish.

To create your own tartare, combine a quantity of Delouis mayonnaise with finely chopped cornichons, tiny capers, chives and parsley. Make more than you need- you can never have enough!

For the highest quality, smallest grade French cornichons, and for the Delouis mayonnaise and tiny capers you need to create your homemade tartare sauce, visit your nearest The Essential Ingredient store or our online store today.

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