All Hail Caesar — As In Popcorn

You won't be able to stop eating this Caesar salad-flavored popcorn.
You won’t be able to stop eating this Caesar salad-flavored popcorn.

There’s something fishy about this popcorn.

And lemony and cheesy, too.

That’s because it has all the great taste of Caesar salad.

“Caesar Popcorn” is a fun recipe from “Tin to Table” (Chronicle Books), of which I received a review copy.

Written by New York’s Anna Hezel, senior editor of Epicurious, this book contains more than 50 recipes that highlight tinned fish and seafood, that most versatile of pantry staples.

With tinned seafood on hand, a snack or a meal can be ready in a flash with recipes such as “Smoked Trout Dip,” “Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs,” “Sardine Banh Mi,” and “Spaghetti with Fancy Clams and Fancy Ham.”

I love Caesar salad, and a perfect one is not complete unless it does include anchovies for that briny, umami jolt.

True to that spirit, this popcorn is flavored with anchovies that are minced into a paste, then heated with a little butter and garlic before tossed with the fresh-popped kernels. The recipe calls for draining the oil from the anchovy tin. But true anchovy lovers like myself know that’s precious gold. Instead, I suggest saving a little of the oil to either add to the butter-garlic mixture or to drizzle over the popcorn at the end. I added that suggestion below.

The perfect addition to movie night at home.
The perfect addition to movie night at home.

I also doubled the Parmesan cheese amount from 1 tablespoon to 2 tablespoons, but feel free to adjust to your particular taste.

Nothing beats a big bowl of just-popped popcorn. But add all the flavorings of a classic Caesar salad and you really have something irresistible.

This punched-up popcorn is cheesy, peppery, and savory tasting. The grated lemon zest adds a wonderful vibrant citrus lift.

The recipe says it serves 4. But truth be told, my husband and I polished it all off by ourselves quite handily.

Yup, have to have anchovies for the authentic taste.
Yup, have to have anchovies for the authentic taste.

Caesar Popcorn

(Serves 2 to 4)

2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

1/4 cup unpopped, unflavored popcorn kernels

3 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained or to taste (see Note)

1 small garlic clove, grated

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 to 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese or to taste

1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest

Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium Dutch oven or metal pot with a lid, heat the canola oil over medium heat for about 1 minute. Add the popcorn kernels and cover. As the kernels begin to pop, gently tilt the pot from side to side to distribute the kernels across the bottom, while keeping the lid firmly closed to avoid any of the hot steam escaping. When the popping has slowed down, and there are several seconds of silence between pops, remove the pot from the heat. Keep the lid on.

Mince the anchovies and use the side of a knife to mash them into a paste. Transfer to a small microwave-safe-bowl and add the garlic and butter. Microwave for several seconds, watching carefully, until the butter has melted.

Transfer the popcorn to a serving bowl and toss with the warm anchovy and garlic butter. Sprinkle with the parsley, Parmesan, lemon zest, and black pepper, and serve immediately.

Note: True anchovy lovers will want to save a little bit of the oil from the anchovy tin to add to the garlic-butter mixture or drizzle on the popcorn to finish, too.

Adapted from “Tin to Table” by Anna Hezel

More Popcorn Fun: Chocolate Popcorn

And: Popcorn Cornbread

And: Jessi’s Caramel Popcorn Cookies

And: Desi Jacks

Plus More Caesar Deliciousness: Roasted Savoy Cabbage Wedges, Caesar-Style

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