Wednesday, September 1, 2010

pimento cheese

Pimento cheese seems innocent enough. Two types of cheddar, some mayo, a little seasoning, chopped up pimentos. Whirr these things together in a blender, spread on a cracker. 

And then...suddenly you're trying to think of other ways to incorporate this miracle spread in your diet. Stuffed into celery sticks? Spread on a bagel? As a filling for a deviled egg? In a burgerA tiny bit mixed in with your daily smoothie? I'm kidding. (Sort of.) 

This stuff is addictive, is my point. It might not sound like much, but when made with good-quality cheddar and spread over warm baguette slices, pimento cheese is a true Southern delicacy. Make this recipe the next time you've got a group of hungry people who will polish off the jar and not leave you with any leftovers to eat with a spoon, or um, your fingers.
Mother's everyday pimento cheese
This is not my mother's recipe, it's someone else's mother, via Gourmet. Many Southern cooks swear by stirring the mixture into a paste by hand, but my arm got tired so I used a food processor, which worked fine. I leave that decision up to you.
(Makes about 3 cups)

1/2 lb. extra-sharp Vermont white cheddar
1/2 lb. extra-sharp aged New York (orange) cheddar
1 7 oz. jar pimentos, drained and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. black pepper
cayenne to taste
2/3 cup mayonnaise

Finely grate cheeses into a large bowl. Stir in pimentos, black pepper, cayenne, and salt to taste with a fork. Then stir in mayonnaise, mashing mixture with fork until relatively smooth. (It should be flecked with small pieces of pimento.)
Scrape spread into a crock or jar and chill, covered, at least 2 hours to allow flavors to develop. Serve pimento cheese with crackers or use as a filling for finger sandwiches.


Anonymous said...

Your mother wants you to make this for Labor Day dinner....can we add some homemade mustard in it somewhere? Just a tablespoon? No mayo?
It looks so yummy.

Dr. Porcher says Hi.

Lisa said...

Hello, mother. I will certainly make it for Labor Day, but don't think mustard would be good in it. The sharp cheddar provides enough tang.

Anonymous said...

So far we have pimento cheese and a Publix
mango/key lime pie on the menu.


Unknown said...

Can you replace the mayo with something else? Otherwise sounds delicious.

Lisa said...

TB: Hmm...maybe sour cream? I don't think it will give you quite the same texture, but it's worth a try.

Daniel said...

After a week of experiments, I can conclusively report: this stuff is good on everything!

Larry said...

I have very fond memories of Pimento. It will nice to update.

Pink of Perfection said...

I am a HUGE pimento cheese fan. Spread on a celery stick and served with some cold rose, I think we're talking about heaven.

Lisa said...

POP: Ahh, rose and cheese-stuffed celery sticks. That is a genius combination.

Anonymous said...

This is a job for SuperDAN! Bring on the pimento cheese and celery.

musingegret said...

Raised in Louisiana and Texas, pimiento cheese (pi-men-ta) is a beloved staple. I've been gussying it up recently and enjoying the results:

A quarter-block of softened cream cheese and grated sharp white cheddar with finely minced jalapeno was pronounced a winner.

Sharp yellow cheddar using all the juice from the diced pimientos eliminated the need for mayo. A scant splash of dry sherry and chopped toasted pecans went wonderfully on toasted baguette.

Loved your pic.

Lisa said...

Musingegret: So interesting that the juice from the pimentos can replace mayo. I love all of your ideas! Thank you for sharing.


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