Crimson Popping Corn with Mexican Oregano (Rancho Gordo)

This fantastic recipe from Rancho Gordo’s “New World Thanksgiving” is a great twist on the classic, 21st century, American popcorn snack. They suggest serving it as an appetizer, and I agree–while the crimson kernels are only a slight red/pink when popped, they still make for a beautiful contrast to the green oregano and white cheese (we used Romano). Delicious!

Note that this is not a nixtamalized maize dish, nor is it a hominy dish. Instead, popcorn has a different history from the nixtamalized hominy foodway showcased on this blog. However, many varieties of pop corn (or pops) are not only suitable for making hominy, but make fantastic hominy.

Crimson Popping Corn with Mexican Oregano (Appetizer)
Serves 5-7

  • 3 tablespoons canola or peanut oil (used to pop)
  • ½ cup Rancho Gordo Crimson popping corn (of course, another popcorn will do!)
  • 2– 3 tablespoons butter (added after–can easily be subbed for non-dairy options, like olive oil)
  • 2 teaspoons Rancho Gordo Mexican oregano, crushed with your hand
  • Salt to taste
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese or Pecorino romano (optional)

Directly from Rancho Gordo: “Have ready a large serving bowl. In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the popcorn and cover the pot. Cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the popping has slowed down to 1 or 2 pops per second. This should take about 3 minutes. Carefully uncover the pot and transfer the popped corn to the serving bowl. (If you have a popcorn popper, use that instead!) In a small saucepan, warm the butter over low heat. Add the crushed oregano to the pan and swirl to incorporate. Drizzle the herb butter over the popcorn and mix gently with your hands. Add salt to taste, and finish with grated Parmesan cheese, if you like.”


Buying Specialty Corns

Like most fruits and vegetables, there are hundreds of varieties of corn, each with its own peculiarities and nuances. However, I’ll bet that unlike apples or tomatoes, your local grocery store doesn’t carry several varieties. In fact, for most varieties of corn, you’ll have to grow it if you want to eat it.

What follows is not a list of all corns known, but instead specific varieties I’ve been able to source on the Internet. (Most generalized hominy or heirlooms corns, such as “white hominy corn” or “yellow cornmeal” are not included.) Some are from seed companies, where a pound may run $25 or more. Some, though, are more economical. Most of those listed under cornmeal are already ground, and to date, none indicate they were nixtamalized. Continue reading