My evening with Parmigiano Reggiano showed me once again that Parmesan cheese deserves to take centre stage- the more mature examples have depth and character that just gets lost if it is only being melted into a risotto or grated over a pizza.
I love snacks, they are my sweet, sweet nemesis. So when I was looking for something to nibble over a few days I decided to turn to popcorn. But rather than smother it in salted caramel (as wonderful as that would be, and don’t think I won’t do that next time!), I decided to try savoury popcorn.
I used 30 month matured parmesan, oregano and sea salt and the result is a wonderful moorish and pretty grown up savoury popcorn.
If you drink, I reckon that this would go really well with a cold beer or nice dry white wine, but it is equally at home in front of a film with a ginger beer.
Also, unlike a sweet popcorn, I didn’t eat the whole bowlful at once. There was so much flavour that it sated my appetite and this big bowlful really saw more than four days. Obviously it will start to go soft, so half the recipe if you think you may struggle to eat it within a couple of days.
I’ve tried various methods of popping on the hob as I don’t have a microwave. I tried scrimping on oil to make it ‘healthier’ but to be honest, I’ve just ended up with burned kernals. So I follow this method on Simply Recipes and I use rapeseed oil and it never fails me. I also use the biggest pan I have, which is my heavy casserole. Giving your corn space to grow helps avoids burners and non-poppers.
Don’t limit yourself to oregano. This is also awesome with za’atar, which is widely available now and is a deeply savoury herb mix which I love.
One final tip: grating parmesan is a work out! A) use a suitable grater or the attachment on your processor if you have one. B) try not to grate part of your finger off. It hurts a lot and wastes precious cheese. Yes dear reader, I bled into my cheese and had to wear a plaster for two days!
Mature Parmesan and oregano - stand aside caramel there is a new tasty savoury popcorn in town!
- 1 cup popcorn kernals
- 2 tbsp rapeseed (or vegetable) oil
- 20g butter, melted
- 40g parmesan cheese, grated
- 1-2 tbsp dried oregano
- Sea salt
- NB - have everything measured out and to hand. Once corn pops it all happens fast so it pays to be organised.
- Melt the butter in a small pan or microwave if you have one.
- Pop your corn - I use this failsafe method but with rapeseed oil as that is what I normally have in which isn't too flavourful and has a high smoke point. Don't use olive oil unless you want the smoke alarm to go off!
- As soon as the corn has finished popping, remove the lid and stir in the butter to cover all kernals.
- Wasting no time, then stir in the grated cheese and 1 tbsp of dried oregano.
- Taste. Add more oregano and sea salt if needed (salt levels needed will depend on the quality and age of the cheese you used as well as personal taste).
- Decant into a large bowl and enjoy.
Best eaten on the day it is made. If you have leftovers, ensure that you cover with a tight fitting lid or clingfilm/plastic wrap to stop moisture getting in to it. Do not store in the fridge.