We figured it is time to conquer one of the classic salt applications. Popcorn. Popcorn is essentially a salt delivery vehicle. It has no real flavor by itself, and the experience is all texture, simultaneously fluffy and crunchy. It's also super finicky. We've all had terrible batches with burnt flavors, too many tooth-destroying unpopped kernels, over-and-under salted portions, soggy buttered areas. We wanted all the texture and none of those mistakes.
We checked to see if maybe it was the type of kernels, but a blind taste-test showed very little difference between brands (it also showed that unsalted popcorn is miserable), so it really came down to popping method. We prefer oil popped because of consistent results and pleasing texture. We found air-popped corn to take on a dry quality. Also, don't bother with the microwave. This isn't that kind of popcorn.
Salt-wise. We find finer grain salts to be best for popcorn because of adherence, but the problem with fine grains is it's easy to oversalt. With oil popping we have had success with our medium-to-large grains. Excess salt falls to the bottom of the bowl, making over-salting much harder to do. If you just got a nice set of finishing salts, go ahead and serve up some simple popcorn. You won't get a better way to showcase an individual salt.
Or if showing off is more your speed, we have two impressive, tasty applications for you for our Black Truffle and our Espresso. Pop using our basic recipe below and go from there.
Basic, no-frills, dependable popcorn
To ensure we got the oil to the right temperature we used the one-kernel test method. We started a kernel in cold oil over medium high heat and then added the remaining kernels when it popped. This ensures you get perfect-temperature oil every time.
- 2 tbsp Vegetable oil
- 3 handfuls of unpopped popcorn kernels.
- Salt to taste
- Heat oil and one popcorn kernel in large saucepan over medium high heat until it pops.
- Add remaining popcorn and shake to ensure all kernels are immersed in oil. Cover and cook on medium-high.
- When popping slows to one pop every two seconds remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl (oil will have been dispersed or absorbed). Salt as desired or use plain for whatever you like.
This application is essentially cheating at flavor. First is our Black Truffle salt, one of our greatest hits. The earthy truffle flavor adds an almost hearty quality to the popcorn. The umami of the bacon and nuttiness of the Parmesan attack this angle and overall round out this super-rich popcorn application. Also butter, because we're indulging.
- 8 cups popped popcorn
- 4 slices cooked, crispy bacon
- 1/2 stick Butter
- 1 tsp Salt Cellar Black Truffle Salt
- ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Put popcorn in large bowl, set aside
- Melt butter in a saucepan on stovetop over low heat or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add to popcorn, stirring to ensure equal distribution. Be careful with the butter or it might make your popcorn soggy.
- Add truffle salt and Parmesan, stirring to distribute.
- Crumble bacon over popcorn and serve with plenty of napkins.
Now for a sweet application. We wanted a fast and easy salted caramel corn recipe. If we could get chocolate in their too, so be it. We adapted a great recipe we found over at Diethood
that worked exactly right. We used espresso salt here, sprinkled when the caramel was still hot from the oven.
- 6 cups Popped popcorn
- 4 tbsp Butter
- ½ cup Brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Light corn syrup
- ¼ tbsp Table salt
- 1/8 tsp Baking soda
- ¼ tsp Pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Salt Cellar Espresso Salt to taste
- Chocolate chips for garnish
- Line a large cookie sheet with foil (trust us, line your sheet). Preheat your oven to 250. Put your popcorn in a large bowl. Let those things sit for a minute.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and add brown sugar, corn syrup, and table salt. Stir until uniform and wait for it to boil, then don't stir for two minutes.
- Mix in baking soda and vanilla.
- Pour mixture over popcorn and carefully stir to coat. Be careful as this mixture gets super hot.
- Add in the chocolate chips and stir to melt
- Spread the popcorn mixture onto your cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with a generous helping of our Espresso Salt.
- Garnish with Chocolate Chips if you want to (you want to). Serve.