You might be wondering why many stovetop popcorn recipes call for three “tester” kernels to be placed in the heating oil and not just one. Daniel has a theory: With one kernel, the pop could be a fluke, and you may not even hear it. Two kernels might be sufficient, but you want the oil to be a little hotter than the ideal popping temperature. So go with three testers. Pop, pop, pop. So when you add your popcorn—which btw I keep in the fridge so it stays hydrated, which ensures all of the kernels pop; if yours don’t, it’s probably because they’re dried out—it doesn’t cool the oil off and take forever to start popping again.
Note: It’s important to butter before seasoning, otherwise the seasoning won’t stick to the popcorn—it will just fall to the bottom and you’ll get underseasoned popcorn and salty buttery sludge at the bottom of your bowl.
- Heat the vegetable oil along with three kernels of popcorn over a medium-high flame in a medium-size (4-quart) saucepot with a tight-fitting lid. When the kernels pop (about 3 minutes), add the rest of the popcorn to the pot, cover, and continue cooking, shaking frequently to ensure the unpopped kernels fall to the bottom (they are heavier and will sift their way down when agitated). The corn should begin popping soon after adding, and it should pop constantly for 3-4 minutes. When the popping slows down (3-4 seconds between pops), it’s time to turn off the flame and immediately transfer the popped corn to a waiting bowl. Leaving it in the hot pot will risk burning it.
- Wait one minute for the pot to cool, then add the butter. Once it’s melted and slightly brown, pour it over the popcorn, mixing vigorously to distribute (you can add some of the popcorn back into the pot and mix it around to soak up all of the buttery goodness, like the top-of-the-bag corn at the movie theater). Then add the salt, Urfa biber, dulse, and brewer’s yeast, mixing to incorporate.
Daniel Holzman started his culinary career at the age of 15 working for Le Bernardin. He attended the Culinary Institute of America with a full scholarship from the James Beard Foundation then embarked on a 15 year culinary journey through some of the country’s finest kitchens including Palladin, Napa, The Campton Place, Aqua, Jardiniere and SPQR where his food received 3½ stars from the San Francisco Chronicle. In 2010 Daniel returned home to team up with his childhood best friend to open The Meatball Shop on New York City’s Lower East Side. Daniel’s culinary experience includes work with consumer packaged goods having launched multiple nationally distributed brands. Daniel is an avid traveler, writer, photographer, and teacher. He is the author of the bestselling Meatball Shop Cookbook, founder of Project Foodie, an online free culinary school and has appeared in countless broadcast segments, local and national publications, as a judge, competitor and the focus of reality television programming and authors a bi-weekly column for TASTE.