Monday, August 20, 2012

Pimiento Cheese

I have a bit of a southern streak in that I have a love of southern food that might make you think I grew up much father below the Mason-Dixon line than is actually the case.  On our way down to Bald Head Island this summer, my family stopped for lunch at Wilbur's, which is a restaurant on the historic North Carolina barbecue trail (when I found out about that, I decided that I probably needed to incorporate more of them into my future NC road trips, not that I have any of those planned but still...).  Anyways, a pitcher of sweet tea, a bottomless basket of hush puppies and a plate of pulled pork and I was a happy camper.  I feel the same way about fried green tomatoes (it totally counts as a vegetable right?  It's even green), biscuits and gravy, and pimiento cheese.  It may not be pretty or sophisticated or in any way healthy but it is delicious and some days isn't that what really matters?  This pimiento cheese was not something that I was going to blog about, because honestly, grated cheese mixed with mayo isn't exactly photogenic nor is it the easiest thing to write about and make it sound as good as it is.  Because it is good, the flavors work so well together, the worcestershire and grated onion give it a little tang and the pimentos add some color and you can eat it on crackers or add it to a grilled cheese or mix it into macaroni and cheese and before you know it the entire bowl is gone and you are trying to figure out when you can make it again, even though you realize that maybe eating a pound of cheese in less than a week may not have been the healthiest choice but it was probably the most tasty.  It is also dead easy, I feel almost feel a bit silly giving you this recipe.  But to get back to the point, I was going to keep the pimiento cheese as my dirty little secret, so I just jotted down the recipe in my recipe book and didn't bother noting where I found it, but then decided I needed to share it, and so I have no idea where this recipe came from, sorry about that.

Start out by mixing together the mayo, diced pimientos, worcestershire sauce, grated onion and a dash of cayenne.  

Now for the difficult part (it's really not that bad and I think you could make it even easier by using a food processor to grate the cheese).  Grate 8 oz. of sharp cheddar and 8 oz. of extra sharp cheddar.  I don't know how to discuss the gauge of cheese grating options, but my Ikea cheese grater has two options, one with regular size holes and one with smaller holes, you do one block of cheese on the regular holes and one on the smaller holes.  And yes, grating the cheese on the smaller holes takes longer and gets tedious, consider yourselves warned.    

Stir the cheese into the mayo mixture and enjoy, it will keep in the fridge for about a week.

Pimiento Cheese

1 1/2 cup mayo
4 oz. diced pimientos
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. finely grated onion
dash cayenne
8 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
8 oz. extra sharp cheddar, finely grated

Mix the mayo, pimientos, worcestershire sauce, onion and cayenne together until well mixed.  Stir in the cheese.  Store in a covered container up to one week.

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