A simple and inexpensive gourmet snack. This is a loosely written recipe; you can eyeball the amounts of oil and popcorn kernel and adjust toppings to taste. Olive oil has a lower burning point than vegetable oil, so don’t raise the heat higher than medium-low.
1/3 to 1/2 cup popcorn kernels (enough to cover the bottom of the pan in a single layer)
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan in a shallow layer)
Zest of 1 small lemon, preferably organic
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Fine grain sea salt, to taste
Place a large serving bowl near the stove. Pour the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan with a lid (if you have a medium-sized Dutch oven, it’s perfect for this). Turn the heat up to medium-low, add 2 kernels of corn, and cover.
Once the kernels pop, remove the pan from heat and pour in the remaining popcorn kernels. Cover the pot and give the pot a little shimmy to distribute the kernels evenly. Let the kernels warm for one minute.
Cook over medium-low heat, shaking the pot occasionally. Once the kernels start popping like crazy, crack the lid just a smidge so the popcorn stays crisp. Cook until the popping sound slows to about one pop per every few seconds. Remove the pan from heat and dump the popcorn into the bowl.
Use a Microplane or other small grater to grate some lemon zest and Parmesan over the bowl of popcorn, to taste. Add pepper and salt, to taste. Serve!
I prefer to use organic, yellow popcorn kernels. Look for them at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and in health food store bulk bins.
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