Popcorn gets a bad rap—blame it on all those movie theatre trans fats. But here’s some good news for those who love the crunchy treat: a recent study from the University of Scranton found that popcorn contains higher levels of polyphenols than any fruit or vegetable. And why should you get excited about that, you wonder? Polyphenols are known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which translate to significant benefits for the cellular and cardiovascular systems.
So here’s the bottom line: While you shouldn’t ditch the fruits and veggies anytime soon, popcorn’s polyphenol and fibre content just might make it the perfect snack food when prepared properly.
Szechuan Pepper, Hazelnut and Parmesan Popcorn
Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane
2-½ tbsp (37 ml) crushed Szechuan pepper
5 tbsp (74 ml) grated Parmesan cheese
4 tbsp (60 ml) ground hazelnuts
1-3/4 cups (415 ml) popcorn
1 tbsp (15 ml) sunflower oil
1. Turn burner to high. In a heavy-bottomed pan, combine the oil and the popcorn. Cover.
2. Cook for about 5 minutes on high heat until when the corn has completely popped.
3. Sprinkle with the pepper, hazelnut and Parmesan while still warm. Mix well.
Four Seasons Hotel Budapest
3-½ tbsp (50 ml) canola, peanut or grape seed oil
2 oz (50 g) popcorn
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika powder
1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
Salt to taste
1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat. Put the corn into the oil and cover the pan.
2. Remove from heat for few seconds. Return the pan to the heat. Once the popping begins, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner.
3. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to release the steam and keep the popcorn dry and crispy. Once popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat.
4. Dump popcorn into a wide bowl and add butter and paprika powder, mixing well. Add salt to taste.