Saffron Fried Rice with Bacon and Shrimp
"This fan favorite at Huertas was inspired by my memories of Madrid’s finest Chinese restaurant, as well as Paella. This dish has elements that are reminiscent of both paella and fried rice: yellow rice with crispy, toasty bits, shrimp, peas and pork."
1 cup, medium or long grain rice
1/2 tsp saffron
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1/2 cup, fresh or frozen peas
½ cup rendered bacon lardons
12 small (approx. 30 count) shrimp, shells removed and deveined
1 handful of pea leaves (sub spinach or other tender green)
4 eggs, beaten
Juice of ¼ of lemon
Rinse the rice until the water runs clear to remove excess starch.
Cook the rice according to the manufacturers’ instructions, adding the saffron and salt to the water. When the water is fully absorbed and the rice is done, lay the rice out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let dry in the refrigerator uncovered until completely cook (ideally overnight so that it can dry out).
Heat your largest sauté pan over high heat for three minutes. Turn down to medium heat and add the oil and the rice, spread evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Add the peas, bacon and shrimp on top of the rice, but not mixed with the rice. You want to allow the dish to cook undisturbed for five minutes so that the rice toasts on the bottom and the ingredients on top steam to warm up, or in the case of the shrimp, begin to cook.
After five minutes, add the pea leaves and stir everything gently (attempting to keep some crispy sections of rice intact). Cook for an additional three minutes or until the shrimp and peas are cooked and the greens a bit wilted.
While the rice is finishing, scramble the eggs (using the teaspoon of butter, and salt to taste) in a separate pan.
Remove the rice from the heat and fold it the scrambled eggs, dispersing them evenly. Add the squeeze of lemon and taste to see if more salt is necessary.
To serve, heap the rice on a platter, attempting to leave some crispy rice intact.