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Salty Corn and a Karate Master

organic kernels sizzling in coconut oil

I love French Expats. My friend Leeanne and I met a friend-of-a-friend for dinner. A Southern French five-time black belt Karate Master and financial genius been living in Miami for about a decade. But like most French expats, despite his years abroad, his accent and affect remain tightly intact. We met at a favorite restaurant of mine called Michael’s in Miami’s Design District. Michael’s is known for their use of locally grown foods, as organic as possible. It is, however, far from vegetarian, with “pig ear” right on the snacks menu. My friend Leeann ordered the Hominy, which is a simple signature of the restaurant. The French black belt stared at the hominy confused, with no idea of what it was or how to eat it. Europeans are not really into finger food unless it’s a proper finger food like a frite, or perhaps an almond. I looked at the expression on the Karate Master’s face, snickered a bit but immediately tried to explain what it was. But “giant corn” didn’t seem to resonate. Hominy is a hulled corn kernel that has been stripped of its bran and germ, though it’s normally larger than what is traditionally thought of as a corn kernel. In this preparation of Hominy, Michael’s flash-sears it to a crunch and serves it with lime and salt. The Karate Master tried to eat it with a fork but we encouraged him to try with his fingers, as I’m convinced that food just tastes better when eaten that way. He didn’t really like the dish and equated it with what one would feed to ducks, for foie gras. Honestly, he was right, and quite frankly I’m not much of a corn fan either, but the salt and crunch makes this dish highly addictive.

salty-sweet maple popcorn

Maple-salted popcorn

Ingredients

3 T coconut oil
1/3 C organic popcorn
At least a 3 Q saucepan
Coarse salt to taste
1T maple syrup or maple butter

Process

Heat the oil in the pan over medium high heat.

Add a large pinch of salt.

Add the kernels to the pan and cover. Wait about 30 seconds and remove from heat, shaking the pan.

Return to heat and let pop. Shake pan sideways gently – never up and down.

When the popping slows down, remove from heat and pour the fluffy corn into large bowl, and immediately pour maple butter (or syrup) over and salt well. Toss gently and eat immediately. Napkins optional.

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