Polenta

Polenta topped with rapini:The rapini stalks are served whole over the polenta. For a richer polenta, stir in 4 ounces mascarpone and 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon granulated garlic

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 bottle (12 ounces) lager beer, such as Peroni

2 quarts frying oil

1. For the brine, stir water, salt and lemon juice together in a large container until salt dissolves. Clean and trim the vegetables; cutting the cauliflower into bite-size pieces. Place into lemon brine; allow to rest, 2 hours.

2. For the sauce, combine lemon zest and juice, fish sauce, habanero, honey and garlic in a bowl, mixing well with a whisk; set aside.

3. For the batter, combine the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl; add 1 Peroni beer at a time, stirring with a whisk (looking for thin consistency). Heat the oil in large pot or home fryer to 375 degrees.

4. Drain vegetables from brine; discarding brine. Spread on a kitchen towel. Once oil is heated to 375 and vegetables are semi dry, add veggies to batter and mix thoroughly.

5. Pull vegetables from batter in batches; fry carefully, stirring the veggies every so often so they don't stick. Remove from oil when golden brown. (They should be cooked through and crunchy.) Place on paper towels to drain for a minutes. Season with salt. Serve, drizzled with the sauce.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 79 calories, 3 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 12 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 350 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

jxgray@tribune.com