Sometimes life gives you more than you can handle, and sometimes the thing it gives you is herbs. Whether you have an overproductive garden, generous friends with an overproductive garden, or a grocery store that refuses to sell herbs in anything but a packed plastic clamshell, it is not always easy to acquire the right amount of herbs. That’s fine: You can use them up by making popcorn.
This works particularly well for woody herbs like rosemary and thyme (soft ones will burn), which is great, because rosemary is an herb I chronically over-buy. (Its flavour is just so assertive, and I always end up using a small fraction of my purchase.) Handfuls of these herbs can be tossed in your popcorn pot—along with three test kernel—where they will infuse the oil while it heats.
I know I usually say you don’t need test kernels, but if you put all the popcorn in with the herbs, it will be hard to remove the herbs once all that corn starts popping off.
How much rosemary and thyme can you add in this manner? A whole bunch—just a ton. Have 15 sprigs? Add them all. Five sprigs of rosemary in half a cup of oil made for a popcorn that was fragrant and subtly flavored, but 10 really produced a truly herbal savoury snack that would have been at home in a bougie wine bar. I don’t think you can really overdo it. To make it, you will need:
1/2 cup of neutral oil
A big handful (at least 10 sprigs) of rosemary or thyme
1/3 cup popcorn
Add the herbs to a big pot and pour your oil on top. Add three test kernels to the pot and heat everything over medium-high heat. Once those three kernels have all popped (and your kitchen smells downright gourmet) remove the herbs, and add the rest of your popcorn. Cover most of the pot with a lid, leaving a slight opening for steam to escape, and let the corn pop, shaking the pot every once in a while.
Once the popping dies down to about a pop every two seconds, remove the pot from the burner and dump the popcorn in a big bowl. Season with fine salt, let sit for five minutes to fully crisp, and enjoy.