Vegan ‘Cheesy’ Popcorn
Using more oil than popcorn kernels — a technique developed by Jessica Koslow, the chef and owner of Sqirl in Los Angeles — gives you an ultracrunchy popcorn with rich flavor. Ms. Koslow prefers grapeseed oil for its high smoke point and clean taste. But to mix things up, you can combine grapeseed oil with a more flavorful oil such as virgin coconut, olive oil, butter, duck fat, or bacon grease. Use 1/4 cup of each. After popping, you can toss the kernels with just salt (they won't need any more fat by way of butter) or a flavorful spice mix. Here, they're tossed with nutritional yeast, which gives them a Parmesan-like umami flavor, along with a little rosemary or kelp powder for depth.
- Serves: 12 persons
- ½cup grapeseed or other neutral oil with a high smoke point (such as corn, canola, or sunflower)
- ⅓cup popcorn kernels
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼cup nutritional yeast
- ½teaspoon black pepper
- ¼teaspoon dried rosemary or powdered kelp seaweed, crushed to a powder
- Pinch of red-pepper flakes (optional)
Step 1In a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat, heat oil and 3 popcorn kernels. When kernels pop, add remaining kernels, lower heat to medium-low, and cover almost all the way with a lid, leaving a tiny crack open for steam to escape (face the crack away from where you are standing).
Step 2Cook, shaking occasionally, until popping stops.
Step 3Transfer popcorn to a bowl, and immediately toss with salt, nutritional yeast, black pepper, dried rosemary and red-pepper flakes. For maximum crunch, let popcorn settle for 5 to 7 minutes before eating.