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Fried Zucchini with Parmigiano-Reggiano and Lemon from 'Franny's'

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[Photograph: John von Pamer]

Fried vegetables make up a substantial chapter in the new Franny's cookbook. Rather than serving a plethora of deep fried cheese sticks and onion rings dipped in tomato sauce, Andrew Feinberg and Francine Stephens take a lighter approach. Many of the fritti, like these fried zucchini sticks, are pieces of vegetables coated in a light tempura-like batter and given a quick dip in hot oil. The thin batter puffs and turns a light golden-brown, leaving the zucchini tender throughout, yet still bright green within. Freshly ground black pepper, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a squeeze of lemon are all they need as a finishing touch.

Why I picked this recipe: Zucchini are just starting to appear in markets right now, so it was the perfect time to give this lightly fried take a try.

What worked: The club soda, flour, and cornstarch batter was perfect for the zucchini. Lemon, pepper, and Parmesan were the only additions that the tender-crisp vegetables needed.

What didn't: I had a hard time getting the batter to stick to the first batch of zucchini, no matter how dry they were before hitting the bowl. I added 2-3 more tablespoons of flour to thicken the mixture and then had more success.

Suggested tweaks: You could fry other vegetables in a similar manner. I'd give whole scallions, asparagus, and green beans a try first.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Franny's to give away this week.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and Berkeleyside NOSH, and she blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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