Chef Nir Mesika at the restaurant Timna in New York shrugs off our usual standards for popcorn—the crunch we chase—and instead narrows in on its salty, buttery flavor. Airy, snappy popcorn, bedamned—Mesika is about to soak it to the point of no return.
Boil popped popcorn in half-and-half, sugar, and salt (haters of damp popcorn, look away), then let it chill out overnight; the starch from the popcorn will leach into the dairy, thickening and flavoring it. Some hours later, obliterated the kernels—now pillow-soft and fat with milk—in a food processor and strain the mixture. You're left with a pure popcorn flavor in the body of a cold, frothy drink.
6 to 8 small portions (it will be enough)
6 1/2 cups
popped popcorn (from about 6 tablespoons unpopped kernels, popped with a small amount of neutral-flavored oil)
1/4 to 1/2 ounces
salt, to taste (I prefer somewhere right in the middle)
Popped popcorn, ground cinnamon, and crumbled halvah, for garnishing
In This Recipe
Pour popped popcorn into a saucepan (you can use the same one you just used to pop it), then add half-and-half, 6 ounces of sugar, and salt.
Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, allow to cool completely, and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
When ready to serve, pour the mixture into a food processor or high-powered blender and blend until well combined. Pour through a fine mesh sieve, pressing to extract all liquids from the kernels.
Serve in very small glasses (or very small portions) and garnish with popped popcorn or, like they do at Timna, with ground cinnamon and crumbled halvah.