27 March 2010

Pimento Cheese (Pimiento Cheese)






Pimento Cheese (pimento is pronounced puh-MIN-uh, by the way) is an iconic Southern food that's been around for over a hundred years, but my Southern grandmother never mentioned it; I had to learn it on my own! There are many variations, but it's basically shredded sharp or medium Cheddar (I always use Tillamook), mayonnaise and pimientos. I think it would be delicious on a hamburger, hot dog or bacon sandwich; but it's usually just slapped on some soft white bread for a quick sandwich, cold or toasted. Apparently, you can also stuff celery with it, spread it on crackers or dip tortilla chips in it.

It must, or so I'm told, be made with real mayonnaise. Many Southern cooks swear by Duke's mayonnaise, but I have to make do with Best Foods/Hellman's. Duke's is still made in Greenville, South Carolina, and sold throughout the South. I suppose the rest of us could do mail-order if we wanted to be sticklers for authenticity!

Purists may not add anything to the basic ingredients, but I couldn't resist a little dill pickle and dill pickle juice along with black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. And I think next time I'll throw in a few chopped green olives. You can add red wine vinegar or Tabasco. I'm a huge fan of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce, so I might have to give that a try in the next batch. Some like it blended smooth, but I'm among those who prefer it a little chunky.

This afternoon I spread a thin layer on Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread, topped it with another slice, trimmed off the crusts and cut it into tiny tea sandwiches to go with a pot of Earl Grey tea. Another Delightful Repast! I'd love to hear your thoughts on pimento cheese.


Pimento Cheese (Pimiento Cheese)

(Makes 3 cups)

1 pound medium or sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 4-ounce jar pimientos, drained and diced
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons chopped dill pickle
2 tablespoons dill pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In 2-quart bowl, stir together all ingredients until well blended. Transfer to serving bowl and cover. Chill for a few hours or up to one week. Serve with crackers, tortillas chips, bread or celery sticks.

10 comments:

crindibindi said...

oo this was really delicious except i used jarred jalapenos and their juice instead of teh dill! thanks for the recipe - i think i'll be using this a lot for quick lunches!

Jean said...

Thank you! Since a batch keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week, you can have a PC sandwich for lunch every day--it's kind of addictive!

Vienna said...

Hi Jean, thank you so much for finding TinyTestKitchen and my pimento cheese recipe. I am so sorry it has taken me a little while to see your site. I am so glad I have! I have already found a couple of recipe that I want to try.

As I am English, I am intrigued by your site. What is your connection with England and all the British recipes? Are you English as well?

Very best, Vienna

Jean said...

Yes, Vienna, the "whilst" gave you away! My mother's family is English. My father's too, but long ago -- his mother's family landed in Virginia and his father's family in Plymouth (came on the Mayflower).

Daniel Hilliard said...

I love this stuff:) I havent had it since I left Florida

Jean said...

Well, Daniel, you just need to whip up a batch. My husband isn't a fan, so I get to have it all to myself. One batch will last me all week!

Marc Frederic said...

Ooh, yum yum, cheese butty's, oops sorry must call it a sandwich, as it's had it's crust taken off.

Ooh, look at that in the sky, waving and pointing my finger, your'e looking right? good I've just eaten another one. Don't tell Jean!

Jean said...

Thanks for stopping by, Marc! These are brilliant with a good strong cup of tea. Wish I had some right now.

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, Jean. I came accross it in search for Outstanding in the Field, which you posted about in May 2011. I have been wanting to go to one of their dinners for awhile. Love your pimento cheese recipe. I am not from the South, but love most things Southern, including Pimento Cheese. My friends in AL make theirs with grated Velveeta for the cheese, which is actually really good. Any chance you have a smoked tuna dip recipe? That is a very Southern appetizer too, that I have had made by the same friends. Thanks so much.

Leslie Andren

Jean said...

Leslie, thanks so much! I'm so glad you found my blog! I'll have to look into this smoked tuna dip--I've never heard of it. Sounds interesting. Thanks for the tip.

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