In this series, we spotlight the boundless potential of a single ingredient.
By Deborah Williamson
Chef: Deborah Williamson
Job Description: Founder of farm to table restaurant, James, and maker of Cecil & Merl bitters, both based in Brooklyn.
Cooking Aesthetic in 3 Words: Natural, seasonal, nourishing.
Favorite Savory Ingredient: Greens of every kind.
Favorite Sweet Ingredient: Dark chocolate.
Food philosophy: It’s all about the farmers market for me. I’m obsessed with them and I’m always looking, listening, tasting, and exploring throughout the seasons. I want to really feed people and make it beautiful along the way.
Beauty Mantra: Begin within. Consider your thoughts, eat more plants, move your body, sleep more, work less, and be in nature.
I brought calendula back from Oaxaca and fell in love with the bright color and pungent flavor. It’s similar to saffron with the added bonus of being an anti-inflammatory, antiviral superfood.
1 cup Red Flint heirloom popcorn kernels or another non-GMO heirloom corn
4 tbsp organic coconut oil
3 tbsp dried calendula petals
1 tbsp aleppo pepper
1 tbsp sumac powder
calendula salt to taste
Melt 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add a couple of kernels to test the heat. Once the kernels pop, add the remaining kernels and cover the pan. Wait for the kernels to furiously pop and slowly shake the pan over the heat. Once the popping slows to a few seconds remove from heat and continue to shake the covered pan.Transfer popcorn to bowl and drizzle another tablespoon of melted coconut oil throughout the popcorn. Gently dust the popcorn with aleppo pepper powder, sumac powder, and calendula salt. Finish with a layer of dried calendula petals on top. You can leave the petals whole or gently grind with a mortar and pestle for a lighter dust.