The key to this lemony and aromatic rice dish is to pack it in an even layer in a skillet and then let it cook undisturbed so it develops an amazing golden crust.
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2 bay leaves
2 1/4 cups basmati rice, rinsed
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest plus 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried mint
How to Make It
In a medium saucepan, boil 8 cups of water with the bay leaves and 2 tablespoons of salt. Add the rice and cook until it begins to soften but still has a bite, 6 minutes. Drain the rice and rinse with cold water; discard the bay leaves. Transfer to a large bowl.
In the saucepan, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the lemon zest and mint and cook over low heat until fragrant, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of salt and 3 tablespoons of water. Fold the lemon butter into the rice.
In a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Mound one-fourth of the rice in the center of the skillet. Spread it in an even layer, pressing firmly with a spatula to pack it 1/8 inch thick. Spread the remaining rice on top in an even layer.
Cover and cook over moderate heat until the rice smells toasty and is beginning to brown on the bottom, 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the rice is tender and golden brown on the bottom, 10 minutes more. Remove the skillet from the heat and let steam, covered, for 5 minutes.
Invert a large platter on the skillet and carefully turn the rice out onto it. Serve hot.
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