This post was originally published on June 2, 2009. It is being republished for readers’ enjoyment.
Pimiento cheese. Everybody knows pimiento cheese. Right?
Wrong. Not long after BeeBop and I got married and were immediately exiled to the cold, cold northeastern United States by the U. S. Navy, I was shocked, shocked I tell you, to find out that there were actually people in the world who had never even heard of pimiento cheese. I found this unbelievable, since pimiento cheese was a staple in every southern household that I knew anything about. Pimiento cheese sandwiches were as common to our childhood as peanut butter is to most. It was something that our moms could make up quickly, spread between two pieces of soft white bread, feed us lunch, and be back to the hundreds of tasks they still had to complete that day. It also made appearances as hors d’oeuvres when stuffed in a stalk of celery or spread on a cracker.
Pimiento cheese is a remarkably simple recipe that uses very common ingredients that are nearly always on hand. My basic recipe follows. Once you’ve mastered the basic you can do a little embellishing (a tiny dash of garlic powder, a dash of cayenne, or maybe a few chopped green olives) but don’t stray too far. Otherwise it’s not pimiento cheese any more, but just some fancy cheese spread. Pimiento cheese is not meant for fanciness.
Grate 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese. I’m making a half recipe in the photos here, so yours will look like more if you’re following the full recipe.
Add the pimientos.
Add the mayonnaise. I always use Duke’s. It’s made by people who really know what mayonnaise is supposed to taste like.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Using a fork, mix all ingredients together.
Enjoy as a spread on crackers, in a sandwich or stuffed in celery. I like it best on marbled rye with a few potato chips and some pickled okra on the side.
More pimiento cheese recipes you might enjoy:
- Pimiento Cheese from Southern Living Magazine
- Mother’s Everyday Pimento Cheese from Epicurious
- The Lee Brothers’ Pimento Cheese from The New York Times
- Pimento Cheese: It’s a Southern Thing from NPR
- Pimento Cheese from She Wears Many Hats
- Southern Pimento Cheese from Add A Pinch