Sunday, December 28, 2008

Classic Pimento Cheese

Basic pimento cheese spread, made with sharp cheddar cheese, chopped pimentos, mayonnaise, and for me, a little hot sauce, Cajun seasoning and Worcestershire.

Classic Pimento Cheese

Classic pimento cheese, in its purest form is simply shredded yellow, or sometimes white cheddar, anywhere from mild to extra sharp, according to personal taste, and chopped or pureed pimentos and sometimes, canned or freshly roasted red peppers instead.

Add a little pure mayonnaise, or depending on where you grew up in the South, even Miracle Whip salad dressing (but never at my house growing up). Traditionally, that'll be served up on white bread too - Bunny bread being our personal preference. That's about it, although there is many a Southern cook who is determined that she or he has that one secret ingredient they don't want to reveal to anybody.

You'll see pimento cheese made all kinds of ways these days - with cream cheese, vinegar, mustard, and a wide variety of cheeses, and even I have a few of my own not-so-secret weapons that, I think, make pimento cheese just right.

Here in the Deep South, we generally like a little kick to ours, so besides a dash or two of good ole Worcestershire sauce that many Southerners use, you'll often find a bit of hot sauce and maybe a bit of cayenne or Cajun seasoning in the mix too.

Mix all that stuff up in a big ole bowl.

Add more mayonnaise as needed for the consistency you like.

Now you can just go and spread it on some bread, white is traditional...

...slap a lid on it and and there you have it. The pâté of the South.

But... to me, pimento always calls for little quartered tea sandwiches, even when it's just for me, so that's what I'm doing here. You can certainly get far more fancy than finger sandwiches, but we'll go old school here, like Mama used to make for those sweet bridal showers or that surprise shower for the expecting mama. Spread the filling out on the bread, but not quite to the edge. If you're making these for a party, you'll want to make a fairly thin layer. I'm making these generous for consumption by Mary.

Stack about 3 sandwiches together at a time if you're slicing them right away. Otherwise, you can stack them up back in the bread bag and refrigerate until you are ready to slice. That also helps them to set and firm up. Don't freeze them though - everything tends to separate and, well, it might not be so pretty.

Use a serrated knife to trim off the crusts, and wipe the knife with a paper towel between trims to keep things tidy.

Eat the trimmings or give them to the kids!

Cut the sandwiches in half diagonally, and then again, so you get quarters out of each sandwich.

A basic pimento cheese spread perfect for tiny finger sandwiches.

Here's how to make it.

For more of my southern favorites, visit my page on Pinterest!


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Posted by on December 28, 2008
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