Just like other non-solid forms of cheese, pimento cheese is as hypnotizing as it is shamelessly (and undeservingly) called “trashy”. The trashy perception is probably because “cheese foods” are typically highly processed, but I’m here to tell you that pimento cheese needn’t be trashy or highly processed. If you haven’t tried it, or have only tried it store-bought from a tub, you are in for a nice surprise.
Pimentos are those red bell peppery looking things stuffed in green cocktail olives. You probably never thought much of them, and at first look and taste, they don’t seem to offer much. They are soft like jarred roasted red peppers, but without the roasted flavor. This gives them a brighter and fresher flavor. They are a great counterpoint to the rich cheddar cheese in this spread.
The cheddar is salty, piquant, and deeply savory, and the pimentos add fresh pepper flavor. There is just enough mayonnaise (I like Best Foods/Hellman’s) to bind things together. For maximum flavor, seek out extra sharp cheddar for maximum flavor, and grate it by hand. Pre-shredded cheese often contains cornstarch or other additives to keep it from sticking together, which are not desired here. If possible, cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving to allow flavors to meld.
Pimento cheese makes just about any food (even celery sticks) a party in your mouth, especially when eaten with Soft Pretzel Breadsticks. If you’re feeling extra naughty, have it swirled up in my Pimento Cheese Swirl Pretzel Breadsticks.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups
Special Equipment: Box Grater
|8 ounce block extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded on small holes of box grater
3 tablespoons pimentos, drained slightly, chopped
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
Pinch of cayenne
Salt (if necessary) and pepper
|Place shredded cheddar, chopped pimentos, mayonnaise, cayenne, and a couple dashes of worcestershire sauce in medium bowl.
Mix very well with a spatula until fully combined. Taste, and add salt and pepper to taste (you may not need additional salt, depending on how salty your cheese is).
Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
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