Elevate your popcorn game by infusing it with the classic combination of salt and vinegar. Beloved by potato-chip aficionados and fans of boardwalk French fries, this zippy flavor is a palate pleaser. Using different types of vinegar or experimenting with the basic recipe lets you quickly and easily customize your snack.
Choosing the Vinegar
Each type of vinegar has its own flavor profile. Malt vinegar, commonly used for fish and chips, adds a mellow tang. Balsamic vinegar lends a slightly sweet, complex flavor. Red wine and distilled white vinegars both have sharp, strong flavors. Apple cider and rice vinegars are typically mellower, with a fruity or fresh finish.
Choosing the Salt
Keep it simple with table salt, or add gourmet flair with specialty salts, which can have nuanced flavors and different textures depending on the coarseness of the grind. Finishing salts like flaked salt or French sea salt dissolve quickly and give a mild, clean taste to the popcorn. Hawaiian red or black salt adds colorful speckles. Infused salts add depth and flavor.
Flavoring the Popcorn
If you're using powdered vinegar (available in some gourmet shops and online stores), simply mix it with your salt and toss it with the popcorn. If using liquid vinegar, slowly drizzle it in an even stream before tossing the popcorn with salt; stir to make sure all the kernels are coated.
The best method for flavoring popcorn with a liquid substance without making it soggy is to spray. Add the vinegar to a clean spray bottle and spray the popcorn lightly before sprinkling in the salt and stirring.
Add complexity to the salt and vinegar popcorn by throwing other ingredients into the mix. Place some butter and vinegar in a saucepan or microwave-safe bowl and heat until the butter melts. Whisk the mixture, then drizzle it in an even, light stream over the popcorn. Sprinkle in some salt, and toss to coat all the popcorn.
Alternatively, make a sweet, salty and tangy popcorn by stirring a tablespoon of brown sugar into the butter and vinegar mixture. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then drizzle over the popcorn. You could also add some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to bring a little heat.