Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Rosemary Popcorn

Yesterday I shared my favorite store bought popcorn in celebration of National Popcorn Popping Month. Today I share my favorite popcorn recipe, Popcorn with Rosemary Infused Olive Oil from Giada di Laurentiis.

This recipe starts by infusing oil with rosemary. This is done very easily by placing 5-6 sprigs of fresh rosemary in a small sauce pan with 1 cup olive oil and cooking it together at medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. After removing the pan from the heat and allowing the oil to cool, the infused oil and sprigs can be stored in the fridge for up to a month. I find that the fat molecules tend to solidify in the fridge, so it's good to plan ahead and set the oil out on the counter an hour or two before you plan on using it.

Giada goes on to suggest using half a cup of this oil to pop 1 cup of kernels on the stove, then tossing the popped corn with a further 2 tablespoons of infused oil and plenty of salt. This creates a very decadent dish perfect for bringing out at a movie party with friends. For a more sensible snack, I find that air popped popcorn drizzled with a couple of tablespoons of oil and plenty of fine sea salt delivers just as much flavor while saving on lots of calories and fat.

The added bonus is all the other wonderful things you can do with the infused oil. Add it to salad dressings and marinade in place of plain oil for a richer, more complex flavor, or sprinkle a pan with a few drops to toast bread to elevate your sandwiches to restaurant quality. I used both techniques for my Rosemary Balsamic Portabella Sandwich.

This recipe also inspired me to branch out into other infused oils. I found that garlic infused olive oil also makes a great popcorn topper, especially when paired with garlic salt to really umph up the flavor. To infuse olive oil with garlic, heat half a cup of olive oil in a small saucepan until just bubbling. Add 4-5 medium cloves of sliced garlic. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and transfer to a container such as a bottle or cruet. This will keep in the fridge up to one week, so a much shorter life span than rosemary oil, which is why I only make half a cup at a time. This oil also works very well in many recipes as a substitute to plain oil, like in my Ultimate Summer Quinoa Salad. The garlic flavor it provides is smooth, and even a little sweet, never sharp.

Keep coming back for more great popcorn recipes and products throughout the month!


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