One of the first things I made after our cross-country move was pimento cheese. (The very first thing I made was grits with sweet corn and pan-fried catfish, just sort of as a declaration that you can put the girl in Jersey but you can’t put Jersey in the girl!). It was while we were living in that furnished apartment with a “fully equipped kitchen” and I had to grate the entire block of cheese with a fork. It was totally worth it, but I highly recommend a cheese grater; it makes the whole process much easier. And you’ll get fewer blisters.
Pimento cheese is simple, easy to make, and endlessly varied. I like the combination of really sharp cheddar and creamy, mellow Monterrey Jack.
makes about 3 cups
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
6 ounces Monterrey Jack cheese
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped small
about 2/3 cup mayonnaise (we like Duke’s)
Use the fine side of a grater to grate all of the cheese. If you are using jarred roasted peppers, drain them well before chopping them up. Put everything into a mixing bowl that gives you plenty of room to energetically stir. Start with a bit less mayo and stir everything together so that the peppers are evenly mixed through the cheese and everything is creamy and cohesive. If it seems too stiff, or when you taste it, you prefer a milder, creamier flavor, add a little more mayo and stir it in.
Following the pimento train of thought a little further, you can add finely chopped green olives (the pimento stuffed type) to half of the pimento cheese-very nice on a cracker.
FYI, they still sell pimento sandwiches at the Masters golf tournament in Augusta, GA. They even trim off the crust.
oh man! is there really that much mayo in it? no wonder it’s so good. i used to have a big problem with mayo (the idea of it, not necessarily the taste) and i’m slowly getting over it. i might have to look away when you mix in the mayo 🙂 such a culinary wimp.
Whatever we need to do to get you your fix, Elizabeth 😉
I’m not normally a pimento cheese girl, but I have a feeling I haven’t had it done right. I mean, what’s not to love about cheese, mayo, and peppers?
I used to feel the same way until I changed the kinds of cheese and peppers I was making it with. American cheese and jarred diced pimentos don’t have much flavor imho.
I like the piquancy (ahem) of the jarred pimientos, actually, but I agree about the American cheese. i think our recipe has a bit of cayenne and some garlic powder, too. (It came from a free trial issue of Saveur, which would be embarrassing if I really called myself a southerner.)
“Piquancy”? Really? Those little diced up translucent red ones that come in the tiny glass jars?
And Southerners are never embarrassed by free trial issues of Saveur 😉