13 Ways of Looking at Pimento Cheese

May 28, 2008 | By | Comments (10)

Pimento_cheesecd For anyone ignorant of the joys of pimento cheese, I’d encourage you to do a little research by reading Southern Living Executive Food Editor Scott Jones’ blog post first. Then check out the Southern Foodways Alliance 2003 Great Pimento Cheese Competition to get a sense of why this stuff generates such enthusiasm south of the Mason-Dixon line. Once educated, come back and we’ll have some fun.

Educated? Ok, so here’s my story: Last week, I’d made two quarts of pimento cheese for a neighborhood gathering. Even after filling a tower of little finger sandwiches, I still had about a pint left over. How was it going to get consumed? Let’s count the ways:

1. Eaten, one spoonful at a time, straight from the refrigerator.

. Spread inside the pocket of a halved pita that was then toasted on a greased cast iron skillet. Pita crisps more readily than other breads, so when I bit in, I got a satisfying crunch followed by a lava-like gush of molten cheese.

3. Scraped onto pretzel sticks for an after-work snack.

4. Mixed with a dash of smoked paprika for a version that was sort of delicious, but also embarrassingly trendy and just, well, wrong.

5. Eaten on a grilled cheese sandwich nuzzled up next to crisp slices of bacon.

6. Made into Pimento Cheese Cheese Straws. I feel like I should cue the dramatic music here, because this was a major innovation for me. After all, pimento cheese is mostly just cheese and mayonnaise — which is primarily fat — and cheese straws are just flour, cheese, and butter — which is also primarily fat. So after mixing a cup of flour into an equal amount of pimento cheese, I rolled out the dough like piecrust, cut it into pencil-thin lengths, then baked the straws at 350˚F for about 16 minutes. They came out of the oven crunchy and flaky, with tiny nubs of browned cheddar and the irresistible flavor of pimientos throughout (which explains why my fingers disobeyed every attempt to stop the plate-to-mouth action).

That’s six uses for Pimento Cheese from me, but what else do y’all do with it? Maybe it could be molded into balls and rolled in crushed pecans for a pimento cheese truffle, or used as a topping for grilled tomatoes… I’m sure we could think of at least 13 variations. So come on and share your thoughts — I’d love to hear them!

COMMENTS

  1. DL Beasley

    At Easter dinner in our family there is always celery sections filled with pimento cheese, also canned pear halves filled with pimento cheese. I was out of sliced cheese when my son wanted a ham and cheese sandwich, instead he used pimento cheese, now it is known as his ham and pimento cheese sandwich. My children also use it as a dip with chips. The homemade pimento cheese is so much better tasting than most store bought and also inexpensive to make. Just a few more ways to use the wonderful spread.

    May 28, 2008 at 9:45 pm
  2. charlene

    DL – This is the first time I’ve heard of pimento cheese with pears, but it makes total sense, like a twist on apples and cheddar. Thanks for the suggestion!

    May 29, 2008 at 5:18 am
  3. Barbara

    Pimento Cheese is good on a toasted English muffin half for breakfast, brunch or snack.
    Barbara

    June 2, 2008 at 7:44 am
  4. Elizabeth Taliaferro

    Thank the Lord, my Mom shared with me her pimento cheese secret before she passed on…..It’s freshly grated onion – not chopped mind you but finely grated and INCLUDING the fresh onion juice that dribbles from the grater. Add that into the bowl of grated cheese before adding the dash of cayenne and the mayo…. real Hellmans please.
    A jarful of my homemade Pimiento cheese, whole-grain crackers and fruit has always been my go-to token of cooking love for friends in lieu of taking someone “a meal.” They love it – and I always tell them if there’s any extra, here’s what my family loves and another “way” to use it up… spread a generous Tablespoon onto a perfectly plain boneless chicken breast during the last few minutes of grilling. Then serve the cheesy chicken alongside a pile of buttered grits – The pimento cheese melts into the grits ….it’s easy and makes everyone happy on ordinary weeknights.
    Warning: Don’t try this with store-bought pimento cheese.
    Hey CD…. Pimento cheese straws… my next must-try recipe!!! YUM!

    June 3, 2008 at 2:02 pm
  5. Penny

    In Atlanta, Ga – you haven’t lived until you have gone to the Varsity and had a pimento cheese burger – they slather the burger with it and then put it in a press of sorts which grills both sides – it is heavenly – I tried it at home but it just wasn’t the same.

    June 4, 2008 at 8:05 am
  6. Danielle

    I like to stuff chicken breasts with pimento cheese, dip that into a spicy ranch dressing, coat with crushed french fried onions and bake at 400 for about 40 minutes. YUMMY!

    June 5, 2008 at 3:51 pm
  7. Mahamalea Somner

    We always stuffed celery w/pimento cheese; however, another really good thing is banana peppers stuffed w/it. I have grown some of the peppers this year & am constantly making a snack w/them stuffed w/pimento cheese. Slice lengthwise, take out seed & membranes & enjoy stuffed!
    The comment from the lady about the grated onion is right on! My grandmother was a dietician & she always added grated onion to her pimento cheese & it does make a difference.

    June 11, 2008 at 9:12 am
  8. Margaret

    Hmmm – love the pimento cheese straws idea!
    I sometimes add chopped jalapenos when making pimento cheese. Not traditional, but VERY good!
    Two of my favorite sandwiches: homemade pimento cheese with strawberry preserves or jam (this is especially good when I’ve used the japapenos), and arguably the best sandwich ever) pimento cheese and green tomato pickles.
    BTW – anyone have a recipe for the green tomato pickles? My sister-in-law doesn’t make them anymore, and says she never had a written recipe, just did whatever her mom said as they made them together.

    June 11, 2008 at 9:49 am
  9. Margaret

    Hmmm – love the pimento cheese straws idea!
    I sometimes add chopped jalapenos when making pimento cheese. Not traditional, but VERY good!
    Two of my favorite sandwiches: homemade pimento cheese with strawberry preserves or jam (this is especially good when I’ve used the japapenos), and arguably the best sandwich ever) pimento cheese and green tomato pickles.
    BTW – anyone have a recipe for the green tomato pickles? My sister-in-law doesn’t make them anymore, and says she never had a written recipe, just did whatever her mom said as they made them together.

    June 11, 2008 at 9:51 am
  10. charlene

    I’ve just eaten a full dinner, but y’all’s comments are making me hungry!
    Barbara – I’m right there with you. I eat pimento cheese for breakfast all the time. (Once, when I was out of crackers, I scooped up the PC with corn Chex. Is that wrong?)
    Elizabeth – So good to see you on the blog! I use onion too, but I have to come clean: I use dehydrated onion rather than fresh, because it’s got onion’s savory quality but doesn’t get “stinkier” the longer it sits in the fridge. I also add half a clove of fresh garlic mashed to a paste with salt.
    Penny – That burger sounds like a beautiful culinary marriage between Redneck and Riviera.
    Danielle – That sounds like the kind of recipe that could land someone in jail. PC, ranch dressing, AND fried onions??? Bring it on…
    Mahamalea – That’s pretty ingenious, sort of like a pimento cheese popper.
    Margaret – Hmm. I don’t have a recipe for green tomato pickles, unfortunately, but I might know someone who makes delicious okra pickles. Let me ask around, and if I find something worth sharing, I’ll be sure to blog about it.
    Again, am loving (and learning from) these comments folks, so please keep up the great suggestions!

    June 16, 2008 at 7:30 pm

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