Cornichons (KOR-nih-shon) are small sour pickles with a pimply outer texture. These pickles are made from a variety of gherkins that are picked when they are young or not are fully matured. Like many other pickles, cornichons are cured and brined. At stores, you might also see these labeled as gherkins – “cornichon” is French for gherkin.
These tiny pickles are no more than 2 inches in length, so they are ideal to serve as an item on a cheese board or a platter of assorted cured meats or part of a relish tray. Cornichons’ tart flavor is also balanced with a hint of sweetness, so it’s often also served alongside pates.
Because of their petite size, cornichons are a nice garnish to serve on top of any sandwich, burger or slider; use a toothpick to secure it. Use chopped cornichons in remoulade or in tartar sauce recipes. You can also use them in many recipes where chopped pickles are called for. Chopped cornichons are a good match for many cold salads like potato and egg salads. You can also use them in deviled eggs.
At most grocery stores cornichons are sold in the pickle aisle. A popular brand is Maille, which offers the classic as well as those with other added ingredients. Some stores may have them near the olives or at the olive bar. You may also find them in the liquor aisle near the cocktail onions and other cocktail condiments.
At the famed and former J.L. Hudson stores in and around the area, the Maurice Salad was a classic. It was salad with cheese and meat that was topped with slivers of gherkins. Hudson’s later became Marshall Fields, and this recipe is in the “The Marshall Field Cookbook.” Some say the salad is named after the chef who invented it.
Prep time: 40 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serves 6 generously)
From “The Marshall Field’s Cookbook” (Book Kitchen, $24.95). Tested by Susan Selasky.
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons onion juice
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup mayonnaise, reduced-fat or regular
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 hard-cooked egg, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ham, julienned
1 pound cooked turkey breast, julienned
1 pound Swiss cheese, julienned
1/2 cup slivered gherkin pickles
1 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
8 to 12 pimiento-stuffed green olives for garnish, optional
To prepare the dressing, in a small bowl combine the vinegar, lemon juice, onion juice, sugar, Dijon and dry mustard; whisk well to dissolve the sugar. Whisk in the mayonnaise, parsley and egg, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
In a large bowl, combine the ham, turkey, cheese and pickles and toss lightly. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently fold together.
Arrange a bed of lettuce on each plate. Top with the meat and cheese mixture and garnish each serving with 2 olives and serve.
Per serving: 752 calories (60 percent from fat), 50 g fat (24 g saturated fat), 12 g carbohydrates, 60 g protein, 1,814 mg sodium, 214 mg cholesterol, 703 mg calcium, 1 g fiber.