I’ve always loved cheese on my popcorn. And I love garlic.
So, one day, I’m browsing recipes and I start looking over ways to infuse olive oil. Then I thought – hey, I use olive oil to cook my popcorn… I wonder what it would taste like if I used an infused oil instead?
I was not disappointed.
What I love about this recipe is the subtle but certainly noticeable garlic flavor, and, since I’m also a big fan of garlic flavor in my pizzas, I was delighted with the garlic and cheese combination.
I think Parmesan is a perfect match for popcorn. But, you’ll notice I also added pepper to mine. That’s because it balances out the saltiness of the cheese while complementing the spice of the garlic.
Overall, I’ve found the final result to be quite enjoyable. And addictive.
Seriously, I’ve eaten a whole batch of this stuff myself.
Anyway, first things first: infusing the olive oil.
You’ll peel and smash the garlic and bring it to a gentle simmer in the olive oil over medium heat, then turn it to low heat.
You need to be careful here – burnt garlic has an awful and bitter flavor, so you’ll want to keep an eye on it. It should only bubble a little while it cooks.
Since it simmers for 10 minutes but then has to steep for an hour, I will usually stick this pot on the stove while cooking dinner, and let it sit while we eat dinner and clean up. Then later, when I’m ready to make the popcorn, the oil is ready, too.
You could always make a larger batch of the olive oil, I suppose, but I’ve always done it this way.
Here is the garlic steeping. You can see that it is a little browned, but not too much.
I usually turn the cloves only once while they’re cooking, and swirl the pot just a couple times.
I’ve thought about keeping the boiled garlic and using it for something else, but I haven’t found anything to suit that purpose yet. I’m open to ideas, but mostly, it seems best fit for compost after this. The flavor has really left the cloves at this point.
And here is the popcorn, freshly popped. It’s important to note that, while I infused the olive oil in a small saucepan, I popped the popcorn in a much larger skillet.
Most people use a deep pot for this purpose, but, luckily, I’ve got a large, high-sided skillet that’s perfect for this amount of popcorn. And easy to clean.
And the finished product. Mmmmmmmm… every time I look at this photo I get hungry!
On to the details:
Garlic-Infused Parmesan Popcorn Recipe
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. pepper
Peel the garlic cloves and gently smash them to release their flavors while still holding their shape.
Place the olive oil and garlic cloves in a small saucepan and warm over medium heat until the oil begins to bubble around the garlic. Turn the heat to low and continue to very gently simmer the garlic for 10 minutes. The garlic should be only slightly browned. Do not let it burn!
Take the pan off the heat and let it sit and steep for one hour.
Discard the used garlic.
In a large saucepan or pot, add the flavored olive oil and 2 or 3 kernels. Warm over medium heat until the kernels pop, then add in the rest of the popcorn. Cover.
Leave over medium heat until the popping stops, gently shaking the pan now and then. This should take only a couple of minutes.
Once the popcorn is done, transfer it to a large bowl. Drizzle the melted butter over the popcorn and mix well to coat all the pieces.
Mix the parmesan and pepper in a small dish, then sprinkle over the popcorn. Mix well. Store loosely covered.
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