When my Meyer’s lemon tree, heavy with fruit, starting falling over and out of the pot, I knew it was time to harvest. With the daylight hours growing longer, the spindly branches were practically growing out the window, and new flower buds starting to form. This “tree”, at least 10 years old, spends summers outside on the deck, and then is wheeled into a sunny spot in the living room for winter.
Once the green knob of fruit is set, it slowly grows to lemon-size, and then gradually turns from green, to pale yellow, then a golden, orange-yellow hue. While one crop is ripening, the plant bursts forth with tiny-white and very fragrant blossoms and starts a second round. In the depth of winter, fresh citrus brightens the spirit and enlivens all types of food. We are fortunate to harvest 6 – 9 lemons a year.
The latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine inspired me to prepare Lemon Chicken Wings. The wings are marinated in a zesty, bright, fresh lemon dressing, baked until crispy and golden brown in the oven, and then tossed with a lemon-feta dressing.
Although often thought of as an appetizer food, chicken wings can be enjoyed as part of a nutritional meal. Who doesn’t love the crispy skin surrounding the melt-in-your-mouth flesh chewed from the bone? The best part is that because the wings need time for the flavors to “marry”, this recipe is easy to prepare in advance. A pan of lemon-infused chicken wings waiting in the refrigerator at dinnertime makes for an easy meal or snack.
“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade ” was a phrase made infamous by Dale Carnegie, the American writer and lecturer who developed courses in self-improvement and salesmanship. The saying is used to promote optimism and encourage people to work through their disadvantages or setbacks. In a metaphorical sense, it represents someone overcoming their hardships and even using their weaknesses as strengths.
In my book, when life gives me lemons, I’ll make wings!
LEMON CHICKEN WINGS
- 3 pounds chicken wings
For the marinade:
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 6 garlic cloves crushed
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon Sea salt
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
For the dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Sea salt
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 3 ounces Feta cheese crumbled
- Assemble ingredients and tools.
To prepare the marinade:
- Grate the rind of the lemon and set aside. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze out the juice. Strain the seeds from the juice. Remove 3 tablespoons of the lemon juice and set aside.
- In a small bowl or measure, whisk together the remaining lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, lemon zest, black pepper, crush garlic cloves, salt and oregano.
- Pour the marinade over the wings, tossing well to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
To prepare the wings:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and then set on a wire rack. Arrange the wings on the rack, brushing well with the marinade. Bake the wings, turning occasionally, until nicely browned and crisp, about 1 – 1-¼ hours.
To serve the wings:
- Whisk the dressing ingredients together: olive oil, reserved lemon juice, garlic, cayenne, and black pepper. Season to taste with salt. Stir in the chopped parsley. Pour the dressing over the wings and crumble the feta and scatter on top.