What do you do when life hands you lemons? If Southern Italian cuisine is your game, then "make limoncello" is the answer. We were inspired by this sweet, lemony liqueur when we distilled the recipe for this chicken. Sorry, folks, it's zero proof, but definitely a 100 on the flavor scale. Tender chicken breast is enrobed in a slightly sweet lemon sauce that pairs perfectly with one of our favorite sides: caramelized fennel and asparagus. Cook up this low-cal, low-carb beauty tonight and live la dolce vita.
Zest lemon, halve, and juice. Peel and slice shallot into very thin rounds. Mince half the rounds. Trim top and bottom of fennel bulb, quarter lengthwise, remove tough core from the base of each piece, and cut into ½" wedges. Trim woody ends off asparagus. Stem and coarsely chop oregano. Crush garlic with the side of a knife. Rinse chicken breasts, pat dry, and season both sides with ½ tsp. salt and a pinch of pepper.
Roast the Fennel
Place fennel wedges on one side of prepared baking sheet with garlic cloves and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil. Season with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper and spread into a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. While fennel roasts, sear chicken.
Sear the Chicken
Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in a medium non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken to hot pan and sear until well-browned, 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a plate. Chicken will finish cooking in a later step. Reserve pan for making sauce; no need to wipe clean.
Finish Fennel and Roast Vegetables
After fennel has roasted 15 minutes, carefully flip wedges onto second side. Add asparagus, grape tomatoes, shallot rounds, and half the oregano (reserve remaining for garnish) to second side of baking sheet and toss with 1 tsp. olive oil. Bake until fennel is caramelized and tomatoes begin to burst, 10 minutes. Remove from oven, toss both gently with 1 tsp. lemon zest (reserve remaining for sauce), and set aside.
Make the Limoncello Sauce
Return pan used to sear chicken to medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and minced shallot to hot pan. Cook until aromatic, 30 seconds. Add white cooking wine, bring to a simmer, and simmer until mostly evaporated, 1 minute. Add chicken base, ½ cup water, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and sugar to pan and stir. Return chicken and any accumulated juices to pan and cook until sauce just coats chicken and chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, 5 minutes. Taste, and add more lemon juice if desired. Add remaining lemon zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Plate the Dish
Place a serving of caramelized fennel and roasted vegetables on a plate. Serve chicken leaning against vegetables and sauce in front. Garnish with remaining oregano.