Perks of living in Central PA:
- The other people who live in Central PA
- Mostly-timely seasons
- Close proximity to Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC, and NYC
- Calicutts Spice Co.
If you are a person who cooks, you are a person who needs to go to Calicutts. Even if you are a person who only cooks popcorn, you still need to go to Calicutts. The spices are top-notch, you’ll use them every day (I’m looking at you, Fire Salt), and the owners are the kind of people you’d want to move in next door and be your neighbors forever.
One day I came home from Calicutts with a jar of Herbes de Provence. I originally intended to make some sort of herby bread, but that was a lost cause after I made this popcorn first. Nothing about it is actually French, but between brown butter, Fleur de Sel, and Herbs de Provence, I figure it’s close enough.
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
- 2-3 Tbsp(ish) butter
- 2 tsp(ish) Fleur de Sel
- 2 tsp(ish) Herbs de Provence
Even though I always try to multi-task the popping of the popcorn and the browning of the butter, it’s a much better idea to give each the attention they deserve separately. So before you pop, brown a few tablespoons of butter in a small skillet. The stages of browned butter are liquid gold, foam, bubbles everywhere, beautifully brown, and burnt beyond repair. That last stage can sneak up on you out of nowhere, so stir like your life depends on it and as soon as you start to see the browned bits, consider taking it off the heat ASAP. (If you’d like actual instructions for browned butter, see this tutorial from Simply Recipes.)
Next, pop your popcorn any way you like. I prefer this tried-and-true method from Simply Recipes, who is apparently winning at all stages of the popcorn game. (Also, a friendly tip, the internet just told me to stop using a dutch oven as a popcorn popper because the high heat and explosive kernels can damage the enamel? Internet say what? I thought dutch ovens were indestructible! This is brand new information!)
Post-popping, toss popcorn with half the browned butter and a teaspoon each of Fleur de Sel and Herbs de Provence, then repeat with the remaining ingredients. The double toss lends itself to a nice, even distribution of everything. As always, adjust all of these things you see fit—more herbs, less salt, etc.
And there you have it! A fairly vague recipe for not-really-but-kind-of French popcorn. Enjoy immensely and feel very sophisticated for being not-really-but-kind-of French.