After toying with a number of different combinations – THE best popcorn I can think of. Before I divulge the secret, I will offer one criteria I had for the best popcorn. I wanted a combination that could be done frequently. When I want popcorn, I want something I can do quickly and munch on while the game is on (or whatever). So caramel corns and other, more involved recipes are not optimal for me, and have serious diminishing returns. Soooooooo …
1. Popcorn – I cook it on the stove. A half cup does a large bowl quite nicely, and only 4 tbsp of vegetable oil is required for cooking. Air popping or microwave might serve laziness. But trust me, cooking it on the stove does not take much longer. (put in oil over medium-high heat, drop one kernel into oil, cover wait to hear a pop, pour in rest of popcorn, cover shake and then, magic)
2. When the popcorn is done, drizzle with good olive oil. Not much is needed here, but then add salt and pepper. I am generous with the salt – but it’s about taste. Garlic salt is highly recommended to give some of the Continental sort of pairing with the oil.
3. Pimenton!!!! This is smoked paprika, a bedrock of Spanish cooking. I cannot emphasize it enough. Shake it over the popcorn after the salt, pepper and oil are added. The smokiness is the thing that brings the whole thing together.
4. After doing one layer on the bowl, shake the bowl to mix and then perhaps do another layer of oil-seasoning on the popped kernels from the bottom of the bowl. At the end of the process, the white popcorn should be white but definitely have some yellow and paprika red hues through it.
Seriously … I can’t discuss this rationally.