Popcorn is a game of speed. The movie is rolling or the conversation is flowing or the hunger is unbearable, and popcorn needs to be made presto-pronto or not at all. A blend of nutritional yeast, cardamom, smoked paprika, and turmeric at the ready go a long way toward keeping your snack life spicy. Bitters do something more. They make it racy.
Mix the salt, yeast, paprika, and turmeric in a small bowl; set aside.
Mix the melted butter and all the bitters in a separate small bowl; set aside.
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add 3 popcorn kernels. When all 3 pop, add the remaining popcorn and shake the pot to get all of the kernels coated. Cover the pot with a lid set slightly ajar to allow the steam to escape. Cook and shake occasionally until the frequency of the popping subsides to several seconds between pops. Remove from the heat.
Pour the popcorn into a large serving bowl. Drizzle the bittered butter over the top and toss to coat. Sprinkle the yeast-salt mixture over the top and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
From Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters and Amari by Mark Bitterman, photography by Clare Barboza and Mark Bitterman/Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.
Mark Bitterman is a leading expert on culinary salt, chocolate and cocktail bitters. He won a James Beard Award for his first book, Salted, and is the author of Salt Block Cooking. He is the owner of the specialty store, The Meadow, with locations in Portland, Ore., and New York City. Bitterman collaborates with chefs around the country and lectures at culinary schools. He has been recognized as a Local Food Hero by Cooking Light and a Tastemaker in Food & Wine.