Start by collecting as many tiny cornichons off the three vines that are making a jungle of the garden. Discover 4 “cornichons” as big as a toddler’s arm and about 15 tiny ones.
Makes 1 8-ounce jar
12 to 15 cornichon cucumbers
1/4 cup kosher salt plus 1 tablespoon
3 to 4 tiny white pearl onions
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon dill seed or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced dill weed
1 small garlic clove, slivered
1 whole clove
1 bay leaf
Rub the cucumbers with a clean tea towel to remove the prickly spines, move them to a clean section of the towel and pour 1/4 cup of kosher salt over them. Roll them around in the salt, then let them sit about 2 hours.
Peel the pearl onions and make an X in the root end. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water. Set the pan over medium high heat and simmer the onions until a paring knife slides in, about 12 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain, and cool.
In the same small saucepan, combine the white vinegar and the water. Add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon sugar and bring the mixture to a boil, dissolving the salt and sugar. Set aside.
In a clean 8 ounce jar with a tight fitting lid, place the onions. Add the peppercorns, dill seed or weed, garlic, clove, and bay leaf. Brush the salt from the cucumbers and fit them into the jar without crushing, but tightly. Pour the warm brine over the cucumbers to fill the jar, covering the contents. Place and tighten the lid when cool and store the jar in a cool, dry cupboard for one month before opening and enjoying.