It’s not a recipe, exactly, but it’s a revelation, or it was when my roommate Judy showed it to me 40 years ago (scary, but true; it was 1970). There was something daring, creative, wonderful about it.
What was it? Lemon rice. Lemon, black pepper, cooked rice. Fried rice with lemon and pepper. Whatever you want to call it, it’s hardly exciting now.
And yet it’s great stuff. I don’t make it enough, but when I do I’m always glad I of it, because it’s really one of the easiest fixes I know. It takes five minutes, and adds a lot to both plain rice and any meal.
Basically: you cook long-grain rice. You can cook it hours, even days, in advance. You can use leftover takeout rice, too.
When you’re nearly ready to eat, melt some butter in a skillet; yes, you can use olive oil instead. Don’t skimp: a tablespoon per cup is not too much. Over medium heat, add the rice and stir. Grind black pepper in there, a lot (not a tablespoon per cup, but a lot – it should be assaultive, unless you don’t like black pepper). When the rice is hot, check for salt, add a little more pepper, and then start squeezing lemon – again, a lot, a tablespoon per cup, or more. When you’re done, it should be peppery and lemony, and taste like butter too.
Years later, I realized that Judy’s lemon rice was what happened when you made plain rice at the same time as you made, for example, some roasted or broiled chicken with a lot of lemon and butter – and then poured the pan drippings over the rice. This is fresher, easier, and can be more frequent. Highly recommended.