You can be guaranteed something lovely when a recipe is referred to as The anything. And it’s been a few posts now with no butter at all, so as my introductory Recipe With Butter, I give you The Popcorn.
You will need a saucepan with a lid. The one I use holds slightly more than a quart. Pour some canola oil in the pan. I know that there are a lot of you out there that have Negative Feelings about canola oil, but I have experimented with other oils (corn, olive, etc.) and none of them were actually good. I am just suggesting the canola oil, from the yummy canola plant (?). You are going to do what you want anyway, so whatever.
Pour enough oil in the pan to cover the bottom, and then add a little extra so that the oil sloshes around when you shake the pan. The sloshing oil is KEY here, people, so don’t try to be all healthy and leave it out. Leaving out the oil does not give you The Popcorn. You may as well get out your air popper from the early nineties, put your hair up in a big scrunchie and get busy with Deee-Lite’s Groove Is In The Heart. Shake that rad, healthy, unsatisfied thang!
Now that your oil is sloshing away in the pan (because I know it is), turn the stove up as high as it goes. Yeah, nice and hot. You know it, baby. I am also going to go out on a limb and assume you have put the pan on the stove. You will notice I leave out little things like, put the pan on the stove, put the bread in the oven, etc. If this gets in the way of you enjoying actually cooked food, go somewhere else where the lowest common denominator is being served.
Your oil in your saucepan is sizzling away on the stove, uncovered. Drop two or three popcorn kernels in the pan. When these little guys pop, and they will likely pop themselves right out of the pan, so you shouldn’t actually stand over the boiling oil, looking down into it, because that would be dangerous (read: dumb).
When your happy trial kernels pop, it is time to put in the rest of the kernels. One handful of popcorn is good for one person who has eaten dinner and isn’t in the mood for snacking at all. Two handfuls (handsful? handsfuls?) is good for the kids’ afternoon snack. And three handfuls is perfect for me, when I am alone, and needing to pig the heck out.
There isn’t much need to shake the pan after you put the popcorn in it, until the oil starts to really sizzle. Use this time to get your big bowl out, and put a little bit of butter to melt. I use the warmer burner on my electric stove, I wouldn’t actually put a dish of butter over a gas flame because I’d probably burn myself. You can also melt your butter in the microwave, if your best friend hasn’t put Terror and Fear of Microwaves in your soul. But once it does, we are back to the oil sizzling part here, hold the cover on the pan, and shake it the way you did to Groove Is In The Heart. Just enough so’s you look cool. As the popped popcorn exceeds the space of the pan, carefully lift the lid and dump some out into the big ol’ bowl. If you are a multitasker, you can drizzle some melted butter over the popcorn as you put it into the bowl so it is well-disbursed. And if you loves you some salt, like me, you can gently (or not) salt the popcorn as you butter it.
When it’s all popped and in the bowl, salt to taste and enjoy immediately. I like my salty popcorn with a glass of orange juice (The Mister thinks this is bizarre behavior, but he’s seen worse from me). Or beer. Or wine. Or Maker’s Mark and cola, or Maker’s Mark and ice, if it’s been one of Those Days.
I suppose you do not really need to add the butter to The Popcorn, if you’ve popped it properly in a sloshy pan of oil, or even a semi-sloshy pan of oil. But it is awfully good, and after all, it’s recommended that you eat about nine thousand servings of whole grains a day, and popcorn is about as whole grain as it comes. So obey the Pyramid and eat you some popcorn!