Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stovetop Popcorn

So air-popped popcorn is a great treat. Fat-free (until you add butter), quick, easy - I'm a fan. However, it is lacking in the flavor department. Also, it is really hard for salt to stick to dry popcorn, and popcorn needs at least a little salt to be all that it can be. Alton Brown developed this procedure for doing popcorn on the stovetop, and I must say that it is the best popcorn I've ever had. Since supermarket kernels are bred for bulk and poppability, you might want to consider specialty kernels on the Internet or a health food store - they actually have a flavor of something other than butter and salt!

A Note on Popcorn Salt
I only buy two kinds of salt: kosher and pickling. I really dislike the metallic taste that iodized salt has. Kosher salt is very cheap and tastes great on most stuff. However, you should not use kosher salt on popcorn, it's too course. You can make the fine powdery popcorn salt they use at movie theaters by putting regular kosher salt in a blender and grinding it down on high power. If you don't have any kosher salt, you could use pickling salt, but it's still a little course for me.

  • A large stainless steel mixing bowl (available from the restaurant supply store for cheap)
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • An oven mitt, hot pad, or welding glove
  • 3 tablespoons vegatable, canola, or peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup good-quality popcorn kernels
  • 1/2 teaspoon popcorn salt
  • 3-4 tablespoons melted butter (optional)

Pour the oil into the bottom of the mixing bowl. Add the popcorn kernels and sprinkle on the salt. Tightly seal the bowl with foil and poke 15 holes in it with the tip of a knife. Put on the oven mitt, put the bowl over medium-high heat and gently shake back and forth (if you've ever done Jiffy Pop, you know what I'm talking about). When the kernels start to pop, shake vigorously (this is the part where it might burn, so keep the popped kernels moving)! As soon as the popping stops, immediately take off the heat and remove the foil. Gently stir/toss in the butter and serve hot.

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