In honor of the start of a new year it’s only appropriate to pop open a few Champagne corks. Nothing says celebration quite like Champagne. In the words of Napoleon “In victory, you deserve Champagne, in defeat, you need it.”
I think its secret is in those tiny bubbles. The refreshing effervescence captured in Champagne makes it unlike any other spirit; it truly is a sparkling wine of great distinction. A glass of good bubbly excites the taste buds and refreshes the palate.
If you want something a little out of the ordinary to pair with your bubbly this New Year’s Eve, may I suggest freshly popped popcorn? Yes, popcorn with Champagne. As strange as it may sound, the two make a great pair.
Not two things you would think to put together but they suit each other quite well. The acidity and cleansing action of the bubbles which in the words of wine expert Andrea Immer are “scrubbing bubbles for your palate” works to balance the saltiness and buttery richness of the popcorn.
But I’m not talking about bagged microwave popcorn. In fact, microwave popcorn has taken a quite a beating since the associated health dangers came to light that consumers were being exposed to toxic microwave popcorn fumes.
The steam released from microwave popcorn bags contains nearly four dozen chemicals according to a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, not to mention the chemicals lining the bags which are then ingested. While it’s unclear how many of the chemicals may be harmful at the levels emitted, I’d prefer to pass on the microwave in a bag popcorn variety and make my own. And it doesn’t take long at all to pop your own.
Swathed in melted truffle butter, gently sprinkled with salt and generously with Parmesan and fresh thyme, it’s a welcome departure from the bagged stuff.
The creaminess of the butter and the intensity of black truffles combines with a handful of good Parmesan cheese and the woodsy aroma of thyme to create a truly unique and indulgent snack that deserves a place in everyone’s home.
Truffle butter is one of those ingredients that will simply change the way you cook. You’ll find yourself eagerly plopping a good pat of it on top of braised, steamed or sautéed vegetables. The unctuous butter makes the most wonderful mashed potatoes and omelets. It has a distinctive rich, earthy, nutty flavor which complements a wide range of foods, but it really shines as a simple popcorn topping.
So to celebrate this year, whip up a batch of popcorn and then break out the Champagne!
RECIPE: Truffle Butter, Parmesan and Thyme Popcorn
- 1 oz / 28g (2 Tablespoons) black truffle butter
- about 5 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves (remove leaves from the stems)
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or any oil that can withstand high heat)
- 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
- 1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- Fine sea salt to taste
- You’ll need a large heavy-bottomed pot with lid. (Use a pot deep enough to accommodate the popped corn.)
- Melt truffle butter in a small sauce pan with the fresh thyme leaves. Set aside.
- Heat oil over medium heat with 2 or 3 popcorn kernels.
- When the kernels start to pop, remove from heat. Add the remaining popcorn kernels and cover.
- Place back over heat and cook, covered, leaving the lid slightly ajar (this is so water vapor can escape) while occasionally shaking the pot, until popping slows. Continue shaking until most kernels have popped and you can’t hear them moving against the bottom of the pot which should take about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and drizzle with the thyme truffle butter, grated Parmesan cheese and sea salt. Put the lid back on and shake, shake, shake to mix the popcorn and get it thoroughly coated.
If you’d like you can also make pop your popcorn in the microwave using your own bag and none of the chemicals. Toss the popcorn in a clean paper bag. Fold the top of the bag over twice to close. Place the bag in the microwave and microwave on high for 2 minutes to 3 minutes, or until there are about 5 seconds between pops.
Preparation time: 5 minute(s)
Cooking time: 5 minute(s)
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 4
Copyright © 2010-2011 gourmande in the kitchen.
What are your favorite things to eat with champagne?