My Kingdom for Pimento Cheese
In The South, we take a lot of really-bad-for-you foods and make them worse. Chunks of fatback in every conceivable vegetable dish. Buttermilk AND flour for frying, because it’s the best way. A crazy story about how chunks of fried cornmeal were fed to hush puppies, when everyone knows a real, live Southerner ate hushpuppies first.
Among my favorite classics of The South is Pimento Cheese. No, not that Velveeta-bred stuff in the freezer case at the local market. That stuff HAS to be created from melted 1970′s Tupperware containers.
Homemade pimento cheese is a festival of flavors on the tongue. In front, it bursts with the mingled nose of white and sharp cheddar, shredded by hand. Spicy pimentos step up in the middle, with just a hint of good mayonnaise. Too much mayo smothers the whole essence and transmogrifies it into gloppy goo. But, when one swallows……..that’s the test of a good PC. If it doesn’t have enough kick of cayenne and black pepper to make the eyes tear, then it is a Nasty Pretender Posing as the Real Thing.
Spread it on a cracker. Slather it between two slices of white bread. Or lick it off your finger. That’s the method I prefer, because everyone else is too grossed out to eat after me, leaving the whole decadent bowl to disappear into my raving tummy.
Mashing two blocks of cheese together with mayonnaise. Yeah. A Southerner definitely thought that one up.
Pimento Cheese Recipe
8 ounces of white cheddar and sharp cheddar, grated (cheeses like Manchego also work)
8 ounces (two small jars) pimentos, drained and chopped
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste (I add some at the mix and more before serving)
1/2 – 2/3 cup mayonnaise (less is more with PC)
In a large bowl, combine grated cheese, chopped pimentos and black pepper. Stir cayenne into the mayo and add to the cheese mixture. Mix with a fork until the mixture clings together. Refrigerate. Best if made at least two days before serving.