An avid meal planner, I run out of steam by the time it comes to think about snacks. An apple with peanut butter? Some almonds? Yes, fine, whatever. Somewhere deep down, I think I believed that procuring/making/eating snacks was too boring to bother with when I could be procuring/making/eating, say, a chocolate tart.
I was utterly wrong. This kettle corn is salty, sweet, and earthy all at once. It is savory enough to sneak by as an afternoon snack, filling enough to get me through a run, and sweet enough to be enjoyed by the handful after dinner while marathoning BBC’s War and Peace.
Warning: I usually can exercise reasonable control around food. Yet I could not control myself around this popcorn–especially once I hit on the idea of sprinkling some Trader Joe’s truffle salt over the top, something not included in the original recipe. Proceed with caution, or throw caution to the wind and dive in with wild abandon.
3 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup corn kernels
1 teaspoon salt (1.5 teaspoons if you’re not using truffle salt)
sprinkle of truffle salt*, to taste (optional, but moves this from great to get-away-from-me-while-I-eat-the-whole-bowl– all depends what you’re going for)
Place the vegetable oil and butter in a large, heavy stockpot (though not a cast iron, it will be too heavy to shake continuously) with a tight-fitting lid. Heat on medium-high (about a 6/10) until the butter is melted.
Quickly add the corn kernels, sprinkling them as evenly as you can over the bottom of the pot. Then add the sugar, also evenly. Put the lid on the pot.
Put on potholders. Every 10 seconds or so, pick up the pot, hold the lid on with your thumbs, and give the pot a shake. This prevents the pot from burning (a bear to clean) and makes sure the kernels cook evenly. The popcorn will take 1-3 minutes to start popping.
Continue to cook until you hear the popping diminish in frequency. Then, reduce heat to low and continue to cook until popping stops. If you’re not sure, you can always remove the lid to check if there are a ton of unpopped kernels left (doing this too often, though, will increase cooking time).
Once done, remove lid. Sprinkle on half the salt. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with remaining salt and truffle salt, if you’re using it.
*I got 2 ounces of truffle salt for less than six dollars at Trader Joe’s–bless you, TJs–but a quick Google turned it up for the most reasonable price here. If you’re wondering “when else will I use this, though?” I say to you: morning eggs, pasta and pasta bakes, risotto, and potatoes (baked, fried, etc) would all be good places to start.