Friday, December 30, 2011

Pimento Cheese

I had my first taste of pimento cheese when I went to a friend's birthday party in Hell's Kitchen. His girlfriend had surprised him by having his favorite restaurant in Atlanta, where they were both from, ship some of his favorite dishes right to NYC just for the party. Among the ribs and the slaw and the pulled pork sandwiches, were bowls of a sharp, creamy cheese spread peppered with bright red pimentos. The bowls were surrounded by little triangles of white sandwich bread to accompany the cheese, and I must've consumed a whole loaf's worth by the time I was done marveling over the deliciousness of it all. Pimento cheese is practically it's own food group down South and it's so good, that I couldn't help feeling that I'd somehow been cheated out of years of pimento cheese pleasures. Well, I made up for lost time last weekend.

This recipe uses piquante peppers because I like a little heat in my cheese, some mayo, a bit of cream cheese, and the best hunk of extra sharp cheddar I could find, grated down finely into tissue-thin shreds. It was so good that I ate the entire serving on my own (enough to feed an intimate party, I imagine) in a matter of three days, spreading it on slices of a crusty baguette from Amy's Bread. Heaven. Bring this stuff to your New Year's Eve party, or any other social gathering, for that matter, and you'll be the most popular person in the room, I promise. xo

Pimento Cheese
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, finely grated
One 4 ounce jar pimentos, roasted red peppers, or piquante peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of ground cayenne

Put the Cheddar, pimentos, mayonnaise, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne into a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with a spoon until it is well blended and the Cheddar becomes creamy. Refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  1. Mmmm,mmmm, I do love pimento cheese. I got my first taste of it in Charleston, SC which is a gorgeous town with some of the best places to eat. After my first trip there, I made a batch of pimento cheese for a party from the Hominy Grill cookbook and it was divine. Thanks for the reminder. Perhaps I shall whip some up for NYE. Happy happy!

  2. Can't wait to try this one! Thanks for so many delicious recipes throughout the year! All the best in 2012!

  3. Thanks!! Have a wonderful New Year's Eve! Here's to a great 2012. xo

  4. Not sure what you mean by "cheddar becomes creamy," since this isn't heated, the cheddar doesn't break down or really become creamy. The more I stir, the more the lovely red pimentos break apart and lose that nice wholeness I see in your photo...any advice would be appreciated.


    P.S. But it tastes wonderful!

  5. This recipe is simple and the closest thing to the pimento cheese that I remember from childhood. But, it's an acquired taste, and I thought it was a bit too heavy on the pimentos.

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