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Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

Air Fryer Mozzarella Sticks

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Makes about a dozen.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from an Internet recipe.

Fried mozzarella sticks are popular. So is cooking with less fat. I wanted to create a recipe for those who are gluten intolerant, have a nut allergy, and/or who are on a keto diet. The best substitute I found for the bread crumbs was dried and toasted cauliflower florets.

Ingredients:

12 mozzarella sticks, such as string cheese
1 large head of cauliflower, trimmed
1 to 2 tablespoons frying oil
1 egg
1 to 2 teaspoons milk
Marinara or other sauce for dipping

Directions:

Place the packaged cheese sticks in the freezer for at least an hour, or until frozen thoroughly. Can be frozen overnight.

Trim the florets from the cauliflower and place in a food processor (the stems can be saved for soup or stock). Pulse the florets until they resemble coarse bread crumbs in texture.

Heat a large skillet with a small amount of oil, 1 or 2 tablespoons. Transfer the processed florets to the skillet and cook over medium heat to evaporate the moisture. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the florets are toasted to a golden brown. Remove from the skillet to cool. (This process might need to be done in batches, depending on the size of your skillet).

Place the cooled cauliflower in a shallow bowl.

Break the egg into a second shallow bowl and add the milk. Mix well.

Line a small tray with parchment paper or waxed paper. Dip each cheese stick in the egg mixture and then roll in the toasted cauliflower to coat. If desired, the cheese can be dipped in the egg and coated with cauliflower a second time for a thicker coating. Arrange on the tray.

Place the tray in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes to freeze again.

Heat the air fryer for about 5 minutes at 400°F (200°C). Arrange the coated cheese sticks in the basket of the air fryer and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 2 minutes. If the cheese isn’t soft enough, turn the stick over and roast an additional minute. They not to overheat the sticks as the cheese will melt and fall apart.

Transfer to a plate and add a dipping bowl of marinara or other sauce on the side.

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