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Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: About 10 minutes
Unless you’re at work, please forget about microwave popcorn. It doesn’t compare to the real thing (especially if you don’t store the kernels forever), which takes at most twice as long. And popcorn takes brilliantly to real butter (instead of that artificially butter-flavored oil), cheese, and many other seasonings.
2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
1 /2cup popping corn
4 tablespoons (1/2stick) butter or extra virgin olive oil (optional)
1. Put the oil in a large, deep saucepan (6 quarts or so) with a lid. Turn the heat to medium, add 3 kernels of corn, and cover.
2.When the 3 kernels pop, remove the lid and add the remaining corn. Cover and shake the pot, holding the lid on. Cook, shaking the pot occasionally, until the popping sound stops, after about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter (or gently warm the oil) if you’re using it.
3. Turn the popcorn into a large bowl; drizzle with the butter and sprinkle with salt while tossing the popcorn. Serve immediately if possible; popcorn is best hot.
Salty-Sweet Popcorn. Serve with or without the butter: Sprinkle the popcorn with salt and superfine sugar as soon as it’s done, tossing to coat evenly. Taste and add more seasoning if needed.
Parmesan Popcorn. You can use whatever cheese you like here, but Parmesan is the best; grate it as finely as possible: Add 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan and toss with the hot popcorn.