Southern Pimiento Cheese

April 13, 2008

Sharp Cheddar cheese, tangy pimientos, and good quality mayonnaise are all you need for Pimiento Cheese.

Mark Boughton Photography/Styling by Teresa Blackburn

There are few things in life that are perfect, but pimiento cheese may well be one of them. When well made, all it needs to make a great sandwich is two slices of most any bread—white, wheat, rye, pumpernickel, or even a biscuit or dinner roll.

Sensible cooks know the best pimiento cheese is also the simplest: the whole point is the balance between good, sharp cheese and pimientos. Some add a dash of garlic juice (or puree) or Worcestershire, some add green onion or use hot sauce instead of cayenne, but that’s as far as any sensible person will go. “Gourmet” additions such as olives, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers and herbs aren’t encouraged: they only draw attention to themselves and upset the balance.

Spread it thickly; thin spreading doesn’t denote elegance—just stinginess. If you need elegance, trim off the crusts and cut the sandwiches into triangles. To warm up a cool day, brush the bread with butter and grill it.

By Damon Lee Fowler, a food writer in Savannah, Ga.


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