Cue the Popcorn!

By: Liz Gray

Sure, you can make fancy-schmancy Mark Zucker-burgers"True Cheese Grits" and White and Black Swan Pasta all day long, but really, what are the Oscars without popcorn? Skip the bagged stuff -- making your own is tastier and simpler.

Make Your Own

You don't really need any special equipment to pop popcorn -- just a large pot with a lid and a bag of popcorn (not the microwave kind, just the plain kernels.)  Pour a few tablespoons of neutral oil in the pot,  then throw in a few kernels and cover. When the first kernels start to pop, add the rest of the popcorn -- a cup of dry popcorn will make enough for a crowd.  Cover the pot and shake occasionally, and remove from the heat when there are more than 3 seconds between pops.

Spice It Up

At this point, your popcorn would be delicious tossed with a little salt, but why stop there? Mix and match these flavorings to add pizazz to your popcorn:

  • Salt and pepper
  • Grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
  • Grated lemon or lime zest
  • Flavored gourmet salts (Bacon and black truffle salt, anyone?)
  • Chipotle powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • French or Italian dry spice blend
  • Nutritional yeast (adds a cheese-like flavor)
  • Cajun seasoning (or really, any seasoning blend)
  • Cinnamon and sugar
Go Gourmet

The Oscars are all about glitz, so go ahead, give your popcorn a little something extra.  These recipes just might win you "Best Supporting Snack."

Sugar, paprika, cinnamon and a hefty amount of butter bring Nigella's snack up to party standards.

Theater-Style (shown above)

The butter at the theater is more special effect than real food.  Pop your popcorn in the real thing -- clarified butter -- and taste the difference.

This sweet take is a classic for a reason -- who could resist crispy-coated, sweet popcorn tossed with peanuts, walnuts and pecans? Emeril gives his a little kick with some cayenne pepper.

Top your popcorn with a winning combo of nutty browned butter, chocolate shavings and orange zest.

Toss popcorn with rosemary-infused oil (or basil-studded olive oil) before and after you pop.

2039_FoodNet_BaconPop_00011.tif

2039_FoodNet_BaconPop_00011.tif

Guaranteed to steal the show, this addictive popcorn is coated with sweet, salty caramel and tossed with crispy bits of bacon. Yes, bacon! Go forth and pop!

How do you pop your popcorn?
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