Add a cornichon—along with an optional olive or cocktail onion—to your Martini. Photo by Elvira Kalviste | THE NIBBLE.
As we were enjoying some cornichons with a plate of pâté and cheese, we wondered:
Why aren’t these cute little pickles served with Martinis? People love pickles—and many people don’t like olives or cocktail onions.
Voilà: the Cornichon Martini.
Unlike gherkins, which tend to be sweetened for the U.S. market, French cornichons are tart and very addictive to sour pickle lovers.\
You can buy cornichons in most supermarkets. The better brands include cocktail onions and add mustard seeds to the brine. The best brands imported from France (and found in specialty food stores) are Edmond Fallot and Maille. A jar, $11-$12 for top brands, makes a great gift for foodies and Martini fans.
WHAT ARE CORNICHONS?
Cornichon (core-nee-SHONE) is the French word for gherkin. These are not necessarily the West Indian gherkin, which is a naturally miniature variety of cucumber. Most are European cucumbers harvested at one to two inches in length.
Cornichons pickled in wine vinegar with garlic (and often, pearl onions) are traditionally served with pâté: The acidic vinegar helps to cut the fat in the pâté.
You can also add cornichons to a relish tray, as a garnish for sandwiches and on an hors d’oeuvre skewer with an olive, cheese cube, cocktail onion and chunk of sausage or other meat.
MORE MARTINI GARNISHES
Don’t let olives and cocktail onions dominate Martini garnishes: Get creative with:
Pickle chips: bread and butter, jalapeño
Whatever appeals to you (we like a slice of pickled daikon, called takuan, which is bright yellow in color and deliciously crunchy)
You can use a cocktail pick or cut a small slit in the bottom to rest the garnish on the rim. If you have oversize Martini glasses, get longer cocktail picks.