Friday, September 17, 2010
Movie Star Popcorn
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 cup unpopped popcorn
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Heat the oil in a 2 to 3 quart saucepan or pot with a lid set over medium-high heat. Pour in popcorn kernels and sprinkle enough salt to lightly cover the layer of kernels. Remember, you can always add more salt later. Add the butter to the pot and cover with the lid.
• As soon as the kernels start to pop, shake the pan back and forth across the burner constantly until the popping slows down. As soon as the pops are about 2 seconds apart, remove from the heat and pour into a serving bowl. Taste, and season with additional salt if desired.
Notes: I don't know why anyone makes microwave popcorn, when the stove top method is easy and so much better. Throw in a couple of kernels and wait until they pop and then throw in the remainder. Because the oil is at the popping temperature, there is little need to shake it - just a couple times and within a minute or two your popcorn is ready. I also keep flavored salts on hand - like cheddar cheese, to shake on top once it's done. Cheap and way better than the micro. If you find your popcorn doesn't pop well, try this: add a tablespoon or two of water to your container of popcorn, shake it up and let it absorb for a day or two. The moisture in the kernels is what makes it pop.
Edit: Although Canola oil generally is healthier, high heat it creates trans fats which are BAD for you. Peanut oil is a better choice because it has a higher smoke point. (Coconut oil, while having a high smoke point, is high in saturated fats and one of the unhealthiest), but also better tasting. That's exactly how movie theaters used to make it. You can find coconut oil in the Asian section of the grocery store, and sometimes in health food stores. It's white and firm at room temp, but it melts very easily and the second you smell it you'll be time-warped back to your childhood. The brand of popping corn you use is key too - definitely go with the higher quality brand in a jar. (you know, from the guy with the funny name)
**Try changing/doing the following: The total amount of oil/butter in the recipe is 5 Tbs. We like extra butter flavor, so we used only 1 Tbs. of oil and then used 4 Tbs. butter (you can use Earth’s Balance non-hydrogenated vegan ‘butter’). The larger amount of butter to oil gave us the stronger buttery taste we wanted. Since I have always used ½ tsp. of salt for every ½ cup of corn, I added all salt at once, along with the corn and 4 Tbs. (1/4 cup) butter. Melting and cooking the butter right in the pot was great. Having the extra oil in the pot - instead of pouring it over the finished popcorn - prevented the corn from burning – a great tip! As the recipe said, I took the pot off the stove when the kernel pops were about 2 seconds apart - no burning or sticking!