For the last month I've been working for a festival of theater and song in Woodstock, NY and staying at the producing artistic director's house. He is an excellent cook and he used to run a B&B in his home. I had a craving for popcorn and noticed he always microwaves his so I thought I'd treat with my version:
I place the largest, heaviest-bottomed dutch oven over medium high heat and add enough extra virgin olive oil (the stronger the flavor the better, I prefer unfiltered) until it covers the bottom well and evenly but not thickly. Then I pop in three kernels of corn. Around the time the kernels pop, the oil will begin smoking so I turn down the heat to medium. Then I add enough kernels to make a single layer on the bottom of the pan and wait for them to begin popping. When the first pop happens I place the lid on (mine is glass so I can see what is happening). I grab both handles and begin shaking and moving over the stove, stopping every 10 seconds or so to barely lift the lid and let out the steam. I keep this up until the popcorn is half filling the pot, then I remove the lid all together and turn the heat down to medium low. I keep shaking and lowering the temp until all of the popcorn is popped (the last few happen off the flame completely). I then immediately pour about 1/3 of the popcorn into the bowl, then add sea salt, then another 1/3, and more sea salt, etc, until all is in the bowl.
It makes fantastic popcorn.
Now, my friend standing there watching me said that he'd never seen anyone do popcorn quite this way and he LOVED it (and was horrified I did popcorn better than him - heehee).
So what are your popcorn secrets?