Thu Aug 9, 2012
My wife is a Filipina raised primarily in Texas, that equates to a lot of different food traditions that this suburban D.C. boy had to learn over the years. Through the tocino, chicken fried steak, adobo, and ranch on everything, one thing that struck me as the most odd was pimento cheese—cheddar, mayo, and pimentos...really? Of course, all it took was one try of this Southern spread and I was a complete convert, now my biggest problem is trying to restrain myself from unhealthy quantities whenever we whip up a batch.
There isn't much to the recipe form pimento cheese—mine came from the back of a Jim N' Nick's business card—but I've found the devil is in the details. It all starts with the cheese, which calls for a grated sharp cheddar. I've seen pimento cheese with coarsely grated cheddar, but I put my stock into a smooth, creamier spread, which requires a finer grate, but not too fine, because a little texture is also nice.
Then comes the pimentos, which I sometimes make myself by roasting red peppers over a hot grill or stove burner until completely charred, then letting them rest in a bowl covered in plastic wrap until cool, and finally peeling and chopping. I'm not always in the mood for the extra work though, and I think jarred pimentos really end up tasting just about the same, so laziness often prevails.
Then these two primary ingredients are mixed with mayo (the original recipe calls for Duke's, but I can't find that in New York, so I stick with Hellmann's), hot sauce, and cayenne.
With that, an amazing spread is born. Give me a package of Club crackers and I'll easily down a whole tub of creamy pimento cheese in one sitting. The mayo melds so seamlessly into the cheese, while the pimentos add an addictive, fresher flavor, that often makes me forget just how bad this stuff probably is for you. It's no matter though when I'm happily gorging, and just thinking how lucky I am to have a wife that brought such an amazing food into my life.
- Prep Time:
- 10 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 10 Minutes
- 3 cups
- 1 lb sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 7-oz jar pimentos, drained and finely diced
- 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In a medium bowl mix together cheese, mayonnaise, pimentos, hot sauce, and cayenne. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.