Popcorn is the simplest of snacks, but it reaches a new level of appeal when liberally sprinkled with cheese. Here, salty Parmesan meets earthy black pepper and mingles with a decadent combination of olive oil and butter to deliver maximum flavor.
Parmesan and Black Pepper Popcorn
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup (3 oz./90 g.) popcorn kernels
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the kernels, cover the saucepan and cook, shaking the pan often, until the popping slows, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and wait for the popping to subside before removing the lid.
Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the melted butter, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, season with salt and pepper and toss again. Divide among individual bowls, if desired, and serve hot.
Variation: Cheddar and Rosemary Popcorn
Pop the popcorn as directed above, substituting canola oil for the olive oil. In a separate saucepan over low heat, whisk together 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) grated sharp Cheddar cheese just until the butter melts (the mixture may not be entirely smooth). Stir in 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary. Drizzle the mixture over the popcorn, toss to coat and season with salt and pepper.