Snack: Popcorn with Herb Butter & Almonds
Brain Booster Rating: 8 out of 10. There’s definitely some extra fat in here from the butter, but lots of fiber from the popcorn and protein from the almonds balances everything out.
Equipment: Heavy lidded pot
Ingredients: popcorn kernels, lemon, herbs, butter, salt
Popcorn is a VIP of the snacking world. It’s not bad for you, and you can eat a lot without feeling too much guilt. And if it’s just one of the days when eating a lot is what your mind and/or soul needs, then popcorn is the logical choice. Better to eat your weight in popcorn than potato chips and ice cream. Not that we’re emotional eaters, but, well, you know…
Today, we’re moving towards southern France, let’s say Provence. There, the popcorn gets a French portion of melted butter, plus a variety of fresh herbs and some tangy lemon juice and zest.
It’s sophisticated enough that if you aren’t studying (it’s summer, after all) it would make a great potluck contribution to a friend’s barbecue, something you could happily much on while the grill’s heating up but that won’t fill you up before dinner.
Cara is the co-founder of Big Girls, Small Kitchen and Small Kitchen College.
Herb & Lemon Buttered Popcorn
Makes 1 big bowl
You could add 2-3 tablespoons of finely grated Parmesan cheese to the butter mixture if you want to make the popcorn richer!
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cups popcorn kernels
6 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Place a large, heavy pan with a lid on medium heat. Add the olive oil and 3 kernels. When they pop, add the rest of the kernels. Shake the pan to distribute, then cover it. Cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until you stop hearing kernels pop more than once every five seconds or so. Turn off the heat and leave the cover on for another 2-3 minutes, until all of the kernels have popped. Transfer the popcorn to a large bowl.
While the kernels are popping, preheat the oven to 300°F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Keep cooking it, stirring occasionally, until it is very slightly golden. Pour into a bowl and add the lemon juice and zest, the pepper, salt, and spices. Mix well, then drizzle this over the popcorn in the bowl. Add the almonds and use your hands to mix the popcorn well, trying to get the butter mixture spread around as best as possible. Taste for salt, adding more as needed.
Pour the popcorn onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the popcorn has dried out slightly and the almonds are toasted, about 6-8 minutes.
Serve warm or room temperature. If you make the popcorn in advance, cool it completely before storing it in an airtight container.