You might not typically equate cornichons with eating healthy, but the wee cucumbers pack a nutritional punch: low in calories, fat and sugar, cornichons carry an impressive amount of vitamin K, iron, folate, calcium, vitamin A and potassium. And it doesn’t end there; these little guys also help control blood pressure, increase digestion, support bone growth and improve muscle building. That’s why athletes can be spotted drinking the juice and munching on cornichons to prevent cramping.
Did you know that by changing the bacteria in your gut, you can positively affect your mood and brain function? A recent study from the University of Paris concluded that consuming cornichons as little as three times a week helps your gut produce more serotonin, also known as the “happy hormone.” When absorbed, serotonin stimulates the brain and acts as a natural antidepressant.
However, not all cornichons are created equal. Avoid brands that use copious amounts of glucose and fructose and contain as much as eight grams of sugar per serving. Instead, try French cornichons like those of La Maison Maille with just three calories per cornichons and two grams of sugar per 30-gram serving. The smaller cousin of the pickle are handpicked before reaching maturity, rendering a distinguished crunch, tart bite and piquant flavor that puts them in a league of their own.
You can incorporate cornichons into recipes like this easy homemade relish and serve as a topping for bruschetta or hot dogs, or mix into potato or chicken salads.
Cornichon and Sweet Onion Relish
• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
• 1 cup Maille cornichons, chopped (try Caramelized Onions or Cayenne Chili Peppers for an extra kick)
• 1 tbsp garlic, chopped
• 1 tsp brown sugar
• 1 tbsp Calabrian peppers, chopped
• 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 1/4 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
• Salt and pepper
1. In a 10-inch skillet heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until golden brown; about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.
2. Add cornichons and continue to cook, stirring often, for another minute. Then add garlic and sugar and cook for 30 seconds.
3. Remove pan from heat and stir in peppers, lemon juice and tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
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