Cornichons look like Lilliputian pickles but have many more uses than being served with undersized hamburgers and pastrami sandwiches (although that would be a cute idea for a children's party). What are they? Pickled cucumbers about 3cm to 4cm in length. They're usually preserved in a mixture of salt, vinegar and seasonings such as garlic, black peppercorns, dill, tarragon and mustard seeds. How are they available? They're mostly sold in jars and are often pickled with small pearl onions. What else? Cornichons and gherkins are essentially the same. They're rarely as crisp as larger pickles. How to use: cornichons are usually served whole as a palate-cleansing condiment with pate, charcuterie and cheese fondue because their vinegary flavour tempers the richness of the other ingredients. The cornichon's tartness is also useful in sauces. In sauce ravigote - a loose, oily mixture served as an accompaniment to boiled beef, poached tete de veau (calf's head) and pan-fried brains with beurre noisette - the sliced cornichons are mixed with olive oil, capers, chopped hard-boiled egg, lemon juice, mustard and minced herbs such as chives, tarragon and parsley. The same ingredients (with the addition of minced shallots or spring onions) are used to make remoulade and tartar sauces. However, for these sauces, rather than the eggs being hard-boiled, the raw yolks are whisked into an emulsion with olive oil to make a thick mayonnaise before being mixed with cornichons, capers, mustard and herbs. Remoulade sauce has the addition of chilli (usually in the form of cayenne pepper or Tabasco). Remoulade and tartar sauces are often served with seafood. For an easy braised-chicken dish, use drumsticks and thighs, which stay moist. Season the meat with salt, pepper and paprika then brown the pieces in hot oil. Remove the meat from the pan, add chopped shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Mix in some unsalted chicken broth and stir with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Whisk in a spoonful of grainy mustard, put the chicken pieces back in the pan, cover with the lid and cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes. Whisk in some double cream, sliced cornichons, whole capers and chopped Italian parsley before serving.