Some days I’m not in the mood to cook but have a fridge full of goodies. Other days, I’m feeling inspired to make something yummy but there’s nothing in the fridge. Then there are those worst days where I’m not in the mood to make anything and I haven’t been to the market in ages. Great.

I was having one of those days when I made this recipe for the first time. I was starving and I couldn’t find anything that was in the fridge and ready to cook. Luckily, my house always has leftover rice, (I make an extra two cups at dinner so there’s extra for emergencies), and I had some spinach and shrimp in the freezer. With a few pantry essentials I was able to throw this together in 20 minutes total and cooked everything in one pan.

My friends LOVED it and ask for this dish all the time, so now it’s become a quick lunch staple whenever I have last minute people over.


2 cups of cooked white rice
1 shallot, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1, 8-ounce bag of spinach
2 ounces of Serrano ham, chopped in 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound of frozen shrimp*, thawed, peeled and deveined**
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tsp of fish sauce
1 tsp of good Japanese mirin
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 unwaxed Meyer lemon, zested and the rest set aside
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
salt & pepper


First, preheat a 15-inch wok to medium high heat, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. While that’s heating, marinate the shrimp in 1 table spoon of oil, the soy sauce, fish sauce, mirin, 3 cloves of garlic, half the shallot and the lemon zest.

Once the pan is hot, add the other half of the shallot and let it soften for 2 minutes. Then add the rice and press it into the shallots to combine both ingredients and until the rice gets slightly crispy. Then toss the rice around in the wok and season with a splash of soy sauce. Then take the rice out and plate it in a large serving plate.

Keep the oil in the pan and add in the Serrano ham. Fry up the ham until it’s nice and crispy. Once that happens, add the leftover garlic to the pan and let it soften for about 30 seconds. Then add the whole bag of spinach to the pan and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sauté the spinach until it’s wilted, about 3 minutes. Then top the rice with the hot spinach.

Add the butter and the remaining olive oil to the pan. In a single layer, fry up the shrimp and season with extra salt and pepper on both sides. Just when the shrimp turns pink, about 3 minutes. Then place the shrimp on top of the spinach.

OPTIONAL — while the pan is still hot, cut the lemon in half and press it into the pan. Serve with the blackened lemon.

Serves 4 for a light lunch with a salad on the side.

*I buy 25-30 count shrimp for this dish. There’s so much flavor in my seasoning so there’s no reason to spend money on the bigger ones.
**You can buy peeled and deveined shrimp in a frozen bag at Costco for sale. Most shrimp is previously frozen anyways, so just buy the frozen bag. 

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