A couple of weekends ago David and I went out to dinner with friends. I’m always looking for new recipe ideas, and so it was a surprise that this brilliant Popcorn Salad came not from the restaurant we enjoyed that night, but rather from my friend. I immediately knew it was a great idea and asked her to send me the recipe, which she did that very night.
The link was to a restaurant she had recently visited—Crop Bistro and Bar in Cleveland, Ohio. Small World. Turns out I had eaten there too, but I had yet to enjoy the dish this restaurant calls Warm Balsamic Popcorn.
I shared the link with Maggy who immediately wrote back, “I’m obsessed with popcorn so I would be 100% up for trying this recipe.” When I told Sharon she agreed we had a brilliant dish in the works.
Rather than treat this recipe as they do at Crop—like a stir-fry with all the ingredients flash cooked in a hot skillet—I simply used the popcorn like croutons, tossing them in a regular salad. Since then I’ve made it several times, adding fennel one time and apples the next. I’m smitten.
Who wouldn’t like popcorn salad? It’s kid friendly, gluten-free, whole grain, vegetarian, even vegan. Give it a try this week… and then spread the word!
- 1 medium garlic clove, minced
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and ground black pepper
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- ⅓ cup popcorn, preferably organic
- 1 container (5 ounces) baby arugula (about 6 cups)
- ½ small red onion, sliced thin
- Whisk garlic, vinegar, mustard, and a light sprinkling of salt and pepper in a 1-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Slowly whisk in olive oil to make thick vinaigrette.
- Meanwhile heat 1½ teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a large saucepan or small pot over strong medium heat. Add popcorn and cook, shaking pan frequently to ensure even popping, until corn is completely popped. Pour popped corn into a large bowl; drizzle with remaining tablespoon of oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Add arugula and onion to the bowl and drizzle with vinaigrette to taste; toss to coat again. Serve immediately.