Mary’s Brown Butter Parmesan Truffle Popcorn

For popcorn lovers! I’ve seen a few variants of this recipe out there, but none quite like what Mary taught me, and that we have together tinkered into something we love.

1. We recommend a GreatNorthern or Franklin popcorn popper, the kind with the whirligig turning handle; the aluminum ones are better than the stainless steel. Heat your corn and oil (we use olive) together; don’t warm your oil first; that tends to increase the number of unpopped or underpopped kernels. The instructions for the popper say to use half a cup of popcorn, but we generally use ⅔ cup of the Snappy White popcorn. Anything that pops fluffy and firm will be good, but Snappy is easily the best, and is available on Amazon. 2/3 of a cup is enough so that as popcorn is almost done, it’s starting to jam up against the top and push it open. Make sure to leave the left side clasp loose so the popcorn can push the top open and steam can escape. Once the corn is popping up against the lid, best get it off the heat.

2. As you are warming and popping your corn, brown a stick (8 tbsp or ¼ pound) butter. This is easier done by two people, and it’s fun to cook it together. One mistake many people make is not fully browning the butter for fear of burning it. Words of advice: learn to burn, so you learn how not to. All the online resources over-caution against burning the butter. And burning is easy to do, but you really need to brown it to get the nutty flavor from the butter. I found it was worth it to me to burn it one time to understand what to look for; Mary is just a natural at this; gets it right every time. Daughter Brianna nails it even better I think. Before it starts to brown, add a teaspoon+ [but not too much] of black truffle oil to the hot butter. BT oils vary widely, so make sure to check how strong your brand is and adjust for it. It’s easy for the truffle to overpower the recipe.

Optional Enhancement 1: I find that sprinkling ¼ tsp of black truffle salt into the butter while it’s melting helps to reduce the salty grittiness of the final product and helps to even out the salt throughout the popcorn.

Optional Enhancement 2: If you’ve got fresh sage leaves, or even dried flakes, not powder, toss some into the melting butter. The sage will fry and pretty much solve any problems you may have had with lack of pleasure in your life. If you pick it fresh as we do, make sure to wash and blot it dry. It will actually dry up a little crispier that way. And, you know, that way it’s clean, too. 

3. As soon as it is done popping, immediately empty  the popcorn into a large bowl. Drizzle about half of the brown butter all over it. Sprinkle the nutritional yeast liberally—it’s very healthy stuff, and it tastes good; the popcorn should be fully dusted in yeast—all over and then stir it all up. Grate about a ¼ cup of parmesan or white cheddar and sprinkle it in, and stir it up again with the rest of the brown butter. Then, very lightly salt to taste with up to another 1/4 tsp of black truffle salt.

Optional Enhancement 3: As an alternative to Parmesan, keep some of this cheese powder from Kiong Arthur on hand. It’s killer.

Serve with a good Pinot Noir or a really crispy fresh IPA. Be careful with whom you share it; they won’t want to leave your home. Enjoy!

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