Mayo and popcorn: two ingredients you might enjoy separately but never thought to combine … until now.
Food Network star Molly Yeh says that, together, they make the perfect salad.
This weekend, after Twitter user @AudVisuals tweeted a video clip in which Yeh makes her "Crunchy Snap Pea Popcorn Salad" in an episode of her show "Girl Meets Farm," the internet lost its mind over the dish, which includes a mix of popcorn, mayonnaise, sour cream and vegetables.
In the video, Yeh describes her recipe as a "riff on an iconic Midwestern dish," and claims it is "so Midwestern, so quirky and so delicious."
"Why would anyone want mushy popcorn with greens on top?" replied one user to the viral tweet, while another added, "If I come over and you give me mayo popcorn I'll take that as a threat."
"This is why offices need to remain closed after the pandemic," wrote someone else. "(Because) I know a couple goofs that would bring this to the office potluck."
With ingredients like shredded carrots, celery and mayonnaise, I felt like I was gathering the goods for macaroni salad — only with, you know, popcorn.
Yeh pops her main ingredient in a Dutch oven, but to save time, I used microwave popcorn, and it did the trick just fine: Two bags yield enough to make the full recipe.
Popcorn gets tossed with white cheddar popcorn seasoning and carrots, while celery and sugar snap peas get tossed with a dressing made from mayonnaise, sour cream, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and shallots.
Again, major macaroni salad vibes. And the taste? Well … I wasn't mad at it.
The mayo-based dressing is subtler than you think, lightly coating the popped kernels. To my surprise, it wasn't soggy. And the greens placed on top (I subbed watercress for arugula) freshen up the flavor. I kept going back for more bites. I guess, as my husband would say, I wouldn't kick it out of bed for eating crackers … or popcorn.
Across the internet, recipes for the supposedly Midwestern dish have existed for some time. Some call for bacon and water chestnuts, others for green onion or cheddar cheese. But the common denominator is always popcorn mixed with a macaroni-salad–like dressing.
My Midwestern friends, like so many in the viral tweet's replies, pled the fifth.
"I've never heard of it," said my best friend, who grew up in Minnesota.
Another pal, from Iowa, said she had a friend who once served a green salad topped with popcorn at an event, but nothing like this.
"Yours looks way more like a popcorn salad," she told me. "The one I had was more like … popcorn as a substitute for croutons."