Buttery Southern Rice
The preserved lemon brightens the warm flavors of the rice, butter, and sesame. Serve with Lowcountry Fish Stew.
2 cups white rice, preferably Carolina or Carolina Gold brand
1 Tbs. finely chopped preserved lemon, rinsed
1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, more for serving
3 bay leaves
2 Tbs. toasted or black sesame seeds
Put the rice in a large bowl and cover with water. To rinse the starch from the rice, swish the rice around in the water with your hands and gently rub the grains together until the water becomes cloudy. Drain the rice and repeat the process 3 to 5 times, using clean water each time, until the water is mostly clear. Transfer the rice back to the bowl, cover with 3 inches of water, and soak for 30 minutes.
In a 4-quart saucepan, add 2 cups of water, the preserved lemon, butter, bay leaves, and 1/2 Tbs. salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain the rice and add it to the saucepan. Cook, stirring until all the rice grains are separated. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 12 minutes, rotating the saucepan halfway through cooking, until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender to the bite.
Remove the pan from the heat and let rest covered for 5 minutes. Just before serving, remove the cover, discard the bay leaves, and fluff the rice with a fork. Season to taste with additional salt and butter and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with the sesame seeds and serve immediately.