Pimento Cheese has been experiencing something of a renaissance here at Serious Eats lately. We've shared recipes for a basic version, ideal for solo snacking, one spread on burgers, baked into a bacon laden loaf of bread, and featured an over-the-top fried pimento cheese sandwich.
This Pimento Cheese Spread from Amanda Hesser's The Essential New York Times Cookbook adds a few extra ingredients to the mix, elevating the classic Southern spread with two types of cheddar and homemade mayonnaise. The recipe calls for the cheeses to be ground in a meat grinder, which I'm sure adds a distinctly coarse texture but the large holes of a box grater or even the grating blade of a food processor work just as well.
By adding lemon, garlic, Worcestershire, and vinegary hot sauce the spread gets just enough acid and depth to keep it lively. Just be sure not to overmix, according to Hesser: "if it's not slippery and goopy, it's not pimento cheese."
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Essential New York Times Cookbook to give away this week.
Reprinted from The Essential New York Times Cookbook by Amanda Hesser. Compilation copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company and Amanda Hesser. Recipes and reprinted text copyright (c) 2010 by The New York Times Company. Used with permission of the publisher, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
- 1/2 pound mild yellow cheddar or longhorn cheese
- 1/2 pound aged white sharp cheddar cheese, preferably Vermont or New York
- One 7-ounce can pimentos, with their juice
- 1 cup chopped scallions
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, or more to taste
- 6 dashes Tabasco sauce, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Crackers or raw vegetables, for serving
Use a meat grinder or the coarse side of a box grater to grate the cheese; for a grinder, use the cutter with large holes. Put the ground or grated cheese in a mixing bowl and add half the juice from the canned pimentos. Dice the pimentos and add them. Add the chopped scallions.
Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and garlic. Add this to the cheese mixture. Add the Worcestershire, Tabasco, and black pepper and blend well; taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve at room temperature as a spread for crisp crackers and raw vegetables or use as a sandwich spread. (Pimento cheese can be tightly sealed and kept for several days in the refrigerator.)