I just planted a lemon tree in my garden. A lemon tree…in Oklahoma. Traditionally, lemon trees require a sun-bathed, mild climate where consistent temperatures yield beautiful citrus fruits to enjoy throughout the summer season.
You might be thinking, hmph! Why is the planting of a lemon tree in Oklahoma noteworthy. Well, like any infant, lemon trees ultimately thrive on soft touches and consistent results. Weather wise, Oklahoma is anything but consistent…or soft. Afterall, it’s May and depending on where you live, spring has already painted the sky with the Midwestern trifecta – tornadoes and hail storms and damaging winds…oh my!
No, literally. These meteorological visuals may last a mere minutes in actual elapsed time, but in many cases, the devastation lasts a lifetime. And there is undoubtedly a pattern underlying their escalation. It is in an effort to understand that pattern that I say to you, I planted a lemon tree in Oklahoma and so far, it’s still living.
In anticipation of lemons lounging in the Beltane sun, why not a slow roasted Tuscan Chicken Casserole for dinner? A simple chicken breast nested between fingerling potatoes and lemon segments roasting in a buttery, honey lemon rosemary sauce. Delicious!
- 1/2 of a butterflied chicken breast
- 4 medium fingerling potatoes, cleaned, peeled if needed and cut into eighths
- 2 medium purple passion fingerling potatoes, cleaned, peeled if needed and cut into eighths
- 1 small lemon, halved
- 1 medium sprig of rosemary, minced
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1½ tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°. Prep a medium sized baking dish with a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or whatever oil you have on hand.
- To butterfly a chicken breast, wash and dry the chicken breast. Place your hand over the top and cut lengthwise to form 2 chicken breasts of equal length and thickness. Place one in a Ziploc bag and store in the fridge for use within 3 days. Generously coat each side of the remaining chicken breast with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place in the baking dish.
- Clean, peel and cut the fingerling potatoes into eighths. Cut the lemon into two halves. Cut one half into quarters. (For now, reserve the remaining lemon half for the sauce.) Sprinkle the potato and lemon wedges evenly throughout the baking dish. Generously sprinkle the casserole with the Italian seasoning.
- Juice the remaining lemon wedge into a small saucepan. Add the honey, minced garlic, minced rosemary and butter. Bring to a simmer over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 3-4 minutes). Pour over the casserole, stirring to coat.
- Bake at 400° for 40-45 minutes, stirring halfway. The casserole is done when the chicken and potatoes are fork tender and the sauce is bubbling.