Parmesan Buttered Popcorn
It was back to the farm yesterday, this time with my son’s first grade class – and at least ten other bus-fulls. Oh my…what a day. Suffice it to say, corralling a group of tag playing, kung fu practicing, poisonous weed picking, snakeskin finding six-year-old boys through a corn maze and pumpkin patch is no easy task. Bless all you teachers out there; I honestly don’t know how you do it. I swear I almost lost one on the hayride.
Thankfully, other than getting a little wet from the rain, we all made it back in one piece…with pumpkins and a few ears of popping corn to show for it. The farmer told us we could pop the corn in the microwave by placing the whole cob in a brown bag and cooking it for two minutes. I couldn’t believe it but it actually worked! Unfortunately, my microwave is a bit psychotic so it burned the popcorn when it was only halfway done.
Good thing I had some kernels in the pantry because everyone was craving a big bowl. (Clearly, you don’t need to go to the farm to make popcorn; this recipe calls for store-bought kernels cooked on the stove top.)
Though we’ve all come to rely on microwave popcorn, homemade popcorn tastes better and is a whole lot better for you. All it takes is a few minutes of effortless shaking at the stove and you’ve got a big bowl of perfectly cooked, fluffy and crunchy popcorn. You could eat it plainly salted as is, but melted butter and freshly grated Parmesan make it special and irresistibly good, perfect for football watching or Halloween parties.
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Parmesan Buttered Popcorn
Makes 1 large bowl (15-20 cups)
3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
½ cup popcorn kernels (preferably Orville Redenbacher’s Original Gourmet Popping Corn)
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
7 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (the good stuff is a must here)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Pour oil, popcorn kernels and salt into a heavy 3-quart or larger pan (kernels should be in single layer). Stir so that salt coats kernels evenly. Cover with heavy-duty aluminum foil and cut 10 thin slits in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape (see photo below). Over medium-high heat, gently shake pan until popping almost stops. Do not let it burn; when popping slows, it’s done. Remove from heat and let remaining kernels pop.
2. Remove foil cover and drizzle melted butter evenly over popcorn. Pour into serving bowl, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and black pepper and toss well (do not add cheese while popcorn is in hot pan). Taste and add more salt if desired. Pour into bowl and serve.