Monday, August 30, 2010

Pimento Cheese

If you're from the south, skip this. You already know.

Pimento cheese (pah-men-ah) is one of the great regional contributions the south has made to American food. It ranks next to (and pairs well with) sweet iced tea. As a regional specialty, there are probably as many recipes as there are cooks. Some people are happy with the tubs in the supermarket just like some people are happy to eat pop tarts. I'm not among them. Some people put strange things like jalapenos in their pimento cheese- I'm not with them either. Others argue the merits of hand grating versus food processor or blender. On that point, I can go either way- but the food processor is just easier.

Pimento Cheese, once made, has a variety of uses but the classic presentation is on a sandwich of white bread. This makes an appearance at most weddings as some people believe that a marriage solemnized below the Mason-Dixon line is not valid until the pimento cheese finger sandwiches (crusts removed) have been served at the reception. It is heavenly on grilled hamburgers. It makes wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches (especially with bacon!). It turns grits from blah to wow. I once had deep fried pimento cheese- little balls of the stuff frozen, dipped in beer batter and deep fried. It might be the most dangerous fair food in the world since you just can't stop yourself from eating the whole plate and washing it down with an icy coke. I know that coke, 'veggie' oil in a deep fryer, and white flour are bad, bad, bad and usually avoid them but I last tasted those cheese balls 25 years ago and I still remember them.

To try your own:

1 cup mayonaise
1 lb sharp cheddar (please- for the love of all that is holy, do not use any cheese whose name ends in 'eeta')
1 large jar diced pimentos- do not drain, use the juice too!
1 t celery seed
salt to taste

to shred: shred the cheese either by hand or in a food processor then mix in the remaining ingredients

or not to shred- cut the cheese into chunks, toss all ingredients into the food processor and puree.

If it is too dry, add more mayo. If it is too wet, add a little bit of cheese. You may want a touch more celery seed. The flavors blend and it improves after a day- if you can keep your family out of it.

Linked into Meatless Mondays at Hey What's For Dinner Mom?

Hey What's For Dinner


Laura said...

pah-men-ah! HAAAA!!! love it-this stuff is DANGEROUS, even worse is the hot pepper version--dangerX2

Love it! Thanks Step for linking up to Just Another Meatless Monday!! :) After yesterday it's kinda easy hunh?

Christy said...

Oh, I CRAVE pimento and cheese, I just haven't found any that tastes like I remember it from my childhood, at least at the store - I will be trying this. Maybe it isn't too late for my marriage and I will serve it for dinner on our 22nd wedding anniversary! LOL

Steph said...

Christy- Congratulations!!! You may have to play around to get the taste of your childhood. My 'right' comes from the area in south Alabama near Ft Rucker. Try it with homemade mayo sometime- it's even better.

Laura- now I know what to bring Saturday