1) Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring, until slightly toasted and golden, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in the water and salt, bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 18 minutes. Then let the rice rest off the heat for 5 minutes; please don't lift the lid to give a peek or stir, or the rice will not cook evenly.
2) Put the rice in a large serving bowl, fluff and separate the grains with a fork. Add lemon zest and/or thyme, if desired, and serve.
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