I have a question for you. Ready? Do you always crave popcorn when you’re in the vicinity of a movie theater? You notice that didn’t say “get” I said “crave”. I’m sure we have all demonstrated some form of will-power in the past. But is there still some part of you that is desperate for that horrible, lukewarm, mass-produced popcorn the moment you catch a whiff of it? I’m only asking because I don’t want to feel alone. I always want it, even though I know it’s an unnatural shade of yellow and swimming sodium. What’s a girl to do? Well, I figured the only way to kick my theater popcorn habit was to form a dependency on a vastly superior popcorn. So, I want you to think of today’s Furikake Popcorn with White Miso Butter as the methadone to theater popcorn’s heroin. Too dark?
You may have noticed that I’ve filed this Furikake Popcorn under the Summer Picnic Series label. Yes, that’s right, three recipes strong! I have so much follow-through it’s crazy. But Self-congratulations aside, this Furikake Popcorn would make a tasty addition to any picnic basket. I think we can all agree that popcorn is at its best when it’s hot and fresh, but room temperature popcorn is definitely still a treat. How else do you explain the almost universal compulsion to inhale SmartFood? So, popcorn tastes good at room temperature, it’s feather light and relatively rugged. I mean, come on, a bag of popcorn is basically a picnic waiting to happen.
For those of you who are scratching your head at the word furikake, don’t be ashamed. While I do know what furikake is, I, unfortunately, did not learn how to pronounce it correctly until I *attempted* to say it out loud for the first time. Sadly, I said my version of “furikake” to a group of serious foodies who seriously schooled me. It was the Great Quinoa Fiasco of 2012 all over again. They were actually really nice about it, but they thought it was VERY funny. Take Home Lessons: 1. learning the correct pronunciation from a person who can’t stop laughing is very difficult and 2. reading a word repeatedly does not mean you know how to say it. Anyway, Furikake! Let’s get to know ya!
Furikake typically consists of sesame seeds, seaweed, salt, sugar and dried fish flakes. Furikake is often used to flavor rice, fish, and pickles in its native Japan but it is also a favorite garnish for poke, the Hawaiian classic that is currently kicking ass and taking names in every corner of the planet. Beyond being an integral part of the “it dish” of the summer, furikake has been capturing the hearts and minds of North Americans as an increasingly common snack food seasoning. God bless globalization: it just tastes so good! And speaking of taste, if you’ve never tried furikake you might be wondering what you’re in for.
If you’re a fan of salty/sweet combos, I think you’ll be on board with furikake. As is the case with most seasonings, the individual ingredients of furikake are not particularly important. The flavor profile they create is what makes furikake sing. Both salt and sugar make frequent appearances in most furikake mixes and the ubiquitous sesame seed always brings a buttery note to its flavor. And while dried fish flakes may not sound particularly appetizing, they taste like they were crafted by umami-loving angels.
So, that’s furikake. You can put on pretty much anything your heart desires (an omelet is my next target) and it’s relatively easy to find provided you have an Asian grocery store in your ‘hood. But enough about furikake, let’s talk about this white miso butter.
I’m generally a fairly humble person, but when I made the ginger scallion white miso butter, my ego grew three sizes. I have never had a kitchen experiment turn out so delicious on the first try. I think I have found my calling…are compound butters considered a calling?
Making this butter is dead easy particularly if you have a stand or hand mixer. It’s basically softened butter, miso, grated ginger, and thinly sliced scallions blended together. I know, I shouldn’t be too proud of myself, it’s hard to think of a scenario where those ingredients would taste bad.
Be sure to use unsalted butter because miso is hella salty and while very salty popcorn is covetable, you do want to be able to use the rest of the butter on something else. I’m thinking of putting a medallion of the stuff on a steak next.
That’s the deal with this Furikake Popcorn with White Miso Butter. It kicks theater popcorn’s butt, it takes a small amount of effort, and it’s built to travel. What more can you ask of a snack food?
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup popcorn kernels
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Furikake for sprinkling
- Place butter, miso and ginger in a stand-mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth and slightly fluffy. Transfer to a bowl.
- Fold the scallions into the butter, then place it in the center of a sheet of wax or parchment paper.
- Roll the wax paper around the butter to form a log. Seal the ends and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot until shimmering. Add the popcorn and place the lid on the pot.
- Cook the kernels until they start to pop, shaking the pot frequently to prevent burning. The popcorn is done when the pops are more than 3 seconds apart. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and set aside.
- Heat 2-3 tablespoons of the chilled miso butter in a microwave until melted. About 20 seconds. Pour the butter over the popcorn and toss to coat. Sprinkle liberally with furikake and taste. Add additional salt and/or butter if required.
- Transfer the popcorn to single serving bags if you're picnic-bound or enjoy immediately.