Sunday, August 10, 2008

Grilled peppers and pimento cheese

People from up North think Maryland is part of the South, but it's not. If it were, we'd have Piggly Wiggly stores and pimento cheese.

I grew pimentos this summer and was trying to figure out what to do with them. It seemed like no matter what I typed into Google, "fresh pimentos" or "whole pimentos" or "pimento recipe," I always got a recipe for pimento cheese. Turns out, Pimento cheese is beyond huge in the South but we haven't even heard of it up here.

Pimento cheese is a spread made with, at its most basic, cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and canned pimentos; its most classic presentation is on white bread, cold, with the crusts cut off. I know it sounds gross but keep reading. You can put it on anything: grilled cheese, baked potatoes, cauliflower, grits, celery, crackers... I can understand the Southern obsession with this concoction because I got hooked on horseradish cheddar cream cheese from South Mountain Creamery and now can not live without it. It's in the same fine family of foodstuff.

The recipe below is modified from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Use fresh grilled red peppers or pimentos instead of canned because it's summer! (to grill peppers: grill peppers until skins have black spots. Put in paper bag and close bag to allow peppers to sweat. Rub skins off. Cut off stems and slice open to remove seeds. Grilled peppers are great in lots of things, so you might want to make extra).

Pimento Cheese

  • 1 lb grated cheddar cheese
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 4 grilled pimentos or 2 large grilled red pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce
  • i Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons prepared mustard

Blend cheddar cheese and 3/4 of peppers together in a food processor (some recipes leave everything chunky). Add mayo and remaining ingredients. Blend. Add in rest of pimento by hand to make it pretty and don't process.

Makes enough for a family reunion.


Nicole Lang said...

Great post! I am in NYC and I too fell for Pimento Cheese hard!!

Elin said...

I like pimento cheese and have several good recipes for it.