Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Perfect Stove Top Popcorn

Stove Top Popcorn

Have all of you watched Ellen Degeneres's standup DVDs multiple times? No? Just me, then?

Well then surely you tune in to her TV show each time you're home sick or near the television during the week on a national holiday, right? Yep, I thought so.

Ellen's comedy makes me laugh. I'm a weirdo, in that I tend to enjoy clean comedy. I can't really stomach the comedians who make fun of their audience and swear in every other sentence. So when Ellen puts together a whole show of good-natured teasing and wondering at the odder things in everyday life, I really appreciate it.

She does one bit in particular that I think about nearly every time I make popcorn or see somebody else eating it. Basically, she's making fun of the fact that popcorn eating during a movie often turns into a messy conquest to shovel as much popcorn as humanly possible into our gullets, as quickly as possible. For the most part, I tend to eat my kernels of corn one by one, but I know that I'm in the minority. Most people love the crunchy awkwardness of a full mouthful of popped corn all at once. And I'm certainly not going to be the one to deny the masses this pleasure.

This is my tried and true method for popcorn making. It's simple and fast and results in the tastiest movie treat I've found. I like to use coconut oil for the popping, but I think my mom used peanut oil when I was growing up, so don't go thinking you're not allowed to pop some corn if you don't have coconut oil on hand. I took these photos of one particularly tasty batch, which I adorned with pecorino romano, shredded on top of the warm popcorn with a microplane.

Stovetop Popcorn

2/3 cup corn kernels
2 Tbs. Coconut oil
1/4 cup butter
Salt to taste

Note: Before you begin, make sure you have a large pot with its lid nearby, two oven mitts, and a large bowl into which you can dump the popped corn.

Put the coconut oil in the bottom of the pot over medium heat. Melt the coconut oil. Once it has melted, pour in the corn kernels. Place the lid on top of the pot, and, using the oven mitts to hold the top on the pot, shake it from side to side over the flame (I like to lift the pot up off the burner to avoid that metal-on-metal noise). Keep shaking. You're trying to move the kernels around so none of them burn. After a minute or so of shaking (depending on how high the heat is), you will hear the first kernels pop. Continue to shake the pot back and forth. The popping will intensify, and you want to make sure to keep the lid on so the steam stays in there and keeps the corn popping. After a couple minutes, kernels will pop less frequently, with several seconds between pops. Immediately remove the lid, making sure to open the side away from you first so as to avoid the steam, which can burn you. Dump the popped corn into the bowl.

Put the butter in the still-hot pot, and it will melt quickly. Pour it over the popcorn and stir around so everything gets buttery. Season with salt to taste.


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Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009