I’m a New England gal. OK, yes I’ve lived in New York for the last 12 years and that’s not technically New England, but it’s close enough in my book. My point is, I am ignorant about all things Southern. I revel in my Northern-ness (much as southern gals are proud of their own heritage). But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a tasty Southern treat (or all of them!). So when my friend Stef at Down the Primrose Path started talking about something called “pimento cheese” I was intrigued.
I, lover of all things cheese, had never heard of this. Pimento loaf? Yuck, but yes. Pimento-stuffed olives? Of course — I eat them all the time. But not pimento cheese. (Unless you count the cream cheese/green stuffed olive mixture I use to stuff celery on Thanksgiving.)
Then, one night I was flipping through an issue of Rachel Ray’s magazine and there it was: a recipe! Of course, I trust my Southern friends a little more than RR, so I took tips from Stefani and whipped up a pot the other night. When I took the ingredients out the fridge and looked at them all together, I questioned myself a bit but continued with the recipe anyway. And when I tried it… well, I was hooked! I think I scarfed down about half the batch that afternoon.
From what I understand of pimento cheese, everyone makes it a little bit different, but the three primary components are cheddar, pimentos, and mayo. In every article I’ve read, a brand called “Duke’s” is preferred, but I’ve never heard of or seen that up here so I went with good old Hellman’s. As I mentioned, my version was thrown together with tips from a friend, so feel free to change things around, use different cheese, whatever! And if you have a favorite pimento cheese recipe, please share it with me!
A Yankee’s Version of Pimento Cheese
4 oz. Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
3 heaping Tbsp. chopped pimentos
Mayonnaise – just enough to mix it all together
Salt & pepper to taste
Combine first three ingredients in a bowl. Mix in a small amount of mayonnaise. Add more mayo, just a little at a time, until the mixture comes to your preferred consistency. (I like mine less mayo-y and a little more thick). Season with salt & pepper to taste.
Traditionally, pimento cheese is served as a sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off (at least according to this NPR story). But I really liked eating them on Oopsie Rolls – my favorite low-carb “bread.” I definitely see this recipe become a kitchen staple. It’s the perfect little extra yummy bite to have with soup or a salad!