I love putting powders on popcorn, whether the powder is of the cheese persuasion, or simply fine, pulverized salt. So when I saw this Cook’s Illustrated article about caper (and miso and scallion) powder, I did not think of rice or vegetables or chicken or fish—I thought only of popcorn. But caper popcorn was not enough. I love salt, but capers have a piquant pungency that call for a little lemon. And thus lemon-caper popcorn was born.
Lemon juice would not do, obviously, as wet popcorn is gross. Zest works beautifully, however, and provides the fresh, heady fragrance and flavor necessary to balance the funky, briny flavor of the capers.
I made the caper powder pretty much exactly as directed by Cook’s Illustrated, only I did not rinse the capers first, as I do not believe in rinsing capers. I also microwaved them a little longer that the prescribed 8-10 minutes, as they didn’t fully dry out in that amount of time. Once they were nice and crispy, I let them cool, pulverized them in my spice grinder, and tossed them with freshly popped corn and lemon zest. The result was divine, and something I highly recommend making as soon is as humanly possible.
- Olive oil
- A jar of capers
- A lemon
Drain a jar of capers and dry them by pressing them gently between paper towels. Transfer them to a microwave-safe plate, and nuke at half power in two-minute increments until they are dry and crispy, and you can see white patches of salt on the outside. Let them cool fully, then pulverize in a spice grinder to make a powder.
Pop your popcorn however you usually do. Olive oil is a natural choice here, but the most important thing is that you use more fat than you think is decent. (I usually use Jessica Koslow’s ratio of 1/2 a cup of oil for 1/3 cup of unpopped kernels.) Transfer to a big bowl and toss with caper powder, tasting until you hit your desired level of salt. Grate fresh lemon zest on top and enjoy.
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