From the invaluable pickling reference, The Joy Of Pickling.
“Because their thin skins make them quite perishable, the very small cornichons (European gherkins) or American-type pickling cucumbers you will need for this recipe should be processed the same day they are harvested, whether you have grown them yourself or are lucky enough to have found them in a produce market or farmers’ market. Recipes for this classic French pickle vary a lot, so don’t feel you must follow this one religiously. Common additions are garlic, cloves, and thyme, and I have sometimes added mustard, coriander, allspice, or even cinnamon. The French often use red wine vinegar, which makes for a delicious if less pretty pickle. I sometimes use cider vinegar, and once I pickled cornichons with ginger, hot pepper, garlic, and rice vinegar, to create what I called Cornichons a l’Orientale, a pungent, clean-tasting pickle. Traditionally, these cornichons accompany paté. My husband loves them with fried ham. “
|Makes 1 Quart
1. Wash the cucumbers gently, rub off the tiny spines if you’re using cornichon, and remove the blossom ends. In a bowl, mix the cucumbers with the salt. Let the cucumbers stand 24 hours.
2. Drain the cucumbers. Rinse them in cold water, and pat each one dry with a clean towel. Pack the cucumbers into a sterile 1-quart jar, interspersing among them the shallots, bay leaf, tarragon, peppercorns, and chile peppers, and leaving at least 1 inch headspace. Fill the jar to the brim with vinegar. Cover the jar tightly with a nonreactive cap, preferably one that is all plastic. Store the jar in a cool, dry, dark place.
3. The cornichons will be ready to eat in 1 month, and will keep well, unopened, for about 1 year.