Pimento Cheese

November 30, 2007 By: erik Category: Food, USA 2,381 views

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Tada!The other day, I saw pimento cheese mentioned in passing on a sibling blog. As far as I know, pimento cheese doesn’t even exist outside the Confederate States of America, so of course it doesn’t exist over here in the Old World. It reminded me of my childhood, even though I’ve probably only eaten a dozen pimento cheese sandwiches in my life. I commented on it and was given a recipe to make some myself!

The recipe:

  • 4oz cheddar, grated (sharpness dependent on your mood)
  • 1 small jar pimento (pimiento)
  • 1-2 Tbs. of finely chopped green onions (again, up to your mood)
  • 1/4 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning (or cayenne pepper if you are into that, which I am sometimes but my great aunt is not)
  • 4-5 Tbs. mayo
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Maybe a drop or two of the pimento juice

Mix until it is to your liking and refrigerate until ready to eat. (Alternately, eat directly out of bowl without refrigerating. Make sure the bowl is large enough to accommodate your noggin when you decide to lick said bowl clean.)

So I thought I’d give it a try. The main hurdle is the complete lack of cheddar cheese in Spain. We have a far greater variety of cheese available in even a small corner grocery store in Spain than even the largest supermarkets in the US. But there’s just no cheddar. Even the Brits, who invented cheddar cheese, don’t have as much of it in the stores as the yanks. It’s confusing. Anyway, the closest thing I could find was Gouda. And, although they certainly exist here, I couldn’t find any green onions at the grocery store yesterday, so I had to go without them in the mix. I also don’t have, and even didn’t know existed, Old Bay Seasoning, but the blogger behind the above recipe has agreed to send me some to try.

Ready or not, here we go!

Gouda and Canned Peppers

These canned fried peppers are pretty common here in Spain. In a pinch you can throw some into the pan with a pork chop and it really adds to the flavor and color of the dish. Gouda isn’t required, swiss cheese would also work.

Note that they are pimientos, not pimentos. The latter word doesn’t really exist here. The former is the general term for all peppers. But what I took out of the can and chopped up would definitely be called “pimento” by an American.

Bloodied Cheese Grater and Seasoning

My bloodied cheese torture device and the seasoning I used. I stole this seasoning from a restaurant in England on January 1, 2005, when we went out to eat with the group of friends that we had been partying with the night before. It’s basically just salt, a little black pepper, and a little cayenne pepper. It does wonders to french fries.

Pre-Mayo

Grated and chopped and seasoned…awaiting the mayo.

Gently Tossed

The Wikipedia page says,

There is common agreement that the pimento cheese should not be a puree. But there are differences as to how much mixing and mashing should go on. Some favor a gentle tossing while other seem to advocate a more thorough combination.

I love that phrase, “some favor a gentle tossing”.

After this photo, it didn’t look or taste peppery enough, so I added another can of chopped pimento and a few drops of Tabasco. I then left it in the refrigerator for an hour, which I think helped it a lot.

Tada!

Tada! It was pretty darn close to what I remember from childhood. In the end, you’re just eating a cheese and mayo sandwich, which can’t be too awfully healthy as a regular part of your diet. But for special occasions…yummy!

 
  • http://www.banglebangle.co.uk Hubbers

    That looks awesome :)

  • http://simonlitton.wordpress.com simon

    “A sibling blog”?
    Wait…Jane is your sister?!

  • http://www.erik-rasmussen.com/ Erik R.

    No. Her blog is a sibling of my blog. I figured that word could be used for members of ones blogroll. Don’t ya think, my brother?

  • http://www.hillbillyplease.com/blog/ jane

    No, actually, we’re long lost siblings. Really. You know how it is in Appalachia: we’re all one big inbred family.

    I love that you, um, purloined some Lawry’s seasoning salt. Good stuff and yes, it really does do wonders for fries.

  • http://www.isoglossia.com sgazzetti

    Such ingenuity. I was up all night crying myself to sleep over the lack of cheddar in the Eurozone. I guess I will have to give this shot.

    Do you think it’ll work with gorgonzola?

  • http://www.thegradys.net Alan G

    Sweet! Finally a subject that I feel compelled to comment on. When I met my wife I had only eaten 2 or 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This conversation has come up more than once since we first discussed it because, well, she thought me a freak. The thing is, my mom and dad didn’t like pb&j’s so as a result I didn’t get them. What I did get was pimento cheese sandwiches. I have eaten more pimento cheese sandwiches than… well, a lot. So, in my household growing up, the pimento cheese sandwich was the equivalent of a pb&j.

    I never cared much for homemade. Probably because I didn’t eat much homemade. We ate Ruth’s (that site hasn’t been updated since 1995). My mom recently found a little country store that makes their own. They offer a great variation; Jalapeños. Let me tell you what, that is some good eats. I came home one evening to find that my pregnant wife had gone through a pint container of it with the help of some saltines.

    The only thing wrong with your sandwich was the absence of cheap white bread which is a must for a traditional southern pimento cheese sandwich. :) But I guess yours already took a different path with the absence of cheddar cheese so you needed to continue with it being a variation on the classic (plus, I’m sure you can’t get cheap white bread over there).

    Ps.
    My wife thought it was weird that I didn’t eat pb&j’s, but didn’t think it weird that her mom made her pb&cheese (cheddar of course) sandwiches to take to school. That’s what she makes for our son now to take to preschool. When it’s my turn to make lunch, I make one for myself to take to work where everyone makes fun of it… but it Really is good. Kinda like a “Nab” on bread.

  • http://www.erik-rasmussen.com/ Erik R.

    Jane: I like that word, “purloined”. Do you think that if you had a sharp post that you stuck in the ground as part of your plan during a robbery, you could call it your “purloin stake”?

    Sgazzetti: You might want to seek some professional help about your ‘zola obsession. No wonder you eat so many Altoids! :-)

    Alan: Jalapeños as a replacement for the pimento or in addition to? Either way, my mouth is watering. Sliced white bread here is called Bimbo Bread, and we rarely buy it, despite its absence rendering our toaster only decorative.

    Peanut butter and cheddar??? That combination just might be weird enough to be tasty! Mind if I ask what “Nab” is? (other than a synonym for “purloin”)

  • http://www.hillbillyplease.com/blog/ jane

    You don’t know what Nabs are? What kind of southerner are you, Erik? Sweet buttered Moses. Have you heard of RC Cola? What about Cheerwine?

    And yes, I agree with the comment that this sort of sandwich is ideally eaten on good old sliced white bread.

    Incidentally, I have a very ambivalent relationship with mayo so I have sort of burned myself out on the pimento cheese already. I’ll have to wait a few months and then make some more.

  • http://www.erik-rasmussen.com/ Erik R.

    Oh good syrupy Judah! I figured it out. Duh duh duh!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lance,_Inc

    • Captain’s Wafers
    • Toastchee Crackers
    • Nekot cookies

    And now the cheddar & peanut butter reference makes perfect sense too. Although I always preferred the sour cream and chives flavor.

    I’m with ya on the mayo burnout. After eating the stuff I made, I’m not putting mayo on anything for a week or so.

  • http://www.thegradys.net Alan G

    Jalapeños are in addition to… not a replacement.

    I must agree with Jane. A real southern would just Know what a Nab was and not have to figure it out. :)

    My wife won’t, will not, no way buy white bread for us. As a result, my pimento cheese sandwiches are now eaten on wheat bread it just ain’t the same.

    I use to put pimento cheese on a ham sandwich. The Varsity down in Atlanta puts it on hamburgers and hot dogs.

  • Paul

    His mother and I will have to take the blame for much of these recently revealed southern living deficiencies, although both Betsy and I DID know what an RC and a pack of ‘nabs were before that fateful day 34 years ago when we moved to the South. Frankly, like our dogs, we tried to keep the boy as skinny as possible.

    Last Spring, I and 49,999 other people were fortunate enough to spend a day at “the Masters”, the big golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia, North America. I was surprised to find that other than beer and pimento cheese on Bimbo Bread (called “marshmallow bread” in my family), there wasn’t much selection at the numerous food vendor stations. Fortunately, both sandwiches and beer sold for just $2.00. I enjoyed all three sandwiches, although I liked the first one best.

  • http://www.erik-rasmussen.com/ Erik R.

    That Masters connection is the last sentence tacked on to the PC wikipedia article. You’d think such an exclusive rich man’s event would have better food.

  • http://www.thegradys.net Alan G

    Yeah, I never knew about “The Masters” connection until this morning when I googled “pimento chesse” and this NPR article came back.

    When I was a kid, and my grand-parents still grew Bacca (tobacco) there was always at 10am sharp snack break. We would always have a RC Cola and Moon Pie at granny’s. My grandfather on the other side of the family had Dr. Pepper and Nabs. I loved going into my grandfather’s supply shed. He could have opened a corner store with all the Nabs and Sodas he kept in stock to feed the workers.

  • http://www.hillbillyplease.com/blog/ jane

    An RC Cola and a Moon Pie. Heaven!

    Paul: I don’t know where you guys moved form but I can imagine what a shock southern cuisine must have been. It is not food for skinny people.

    My great grandfather always used to give me a coke in a little glass bottle and one of these coconut candies when I visited him. Oh, and a rolaids jar full of coins.

  • http://www.thegradys.net Alan G

    Oh… and we use to pour our packet of salted peanuts into the coke bottle. That freed a hand to drive the tractor while having a tasty snack And soda.

  • http://www.erik-rasmussen.com/ Erik R.

    Y’all’s a right bunch a hicks!

  • http://www.hillbillyplease.com/blog/ jane

    Erik: You have no idea. :D

  • http://delightfulrepast.com Jean

    I know I’m two years too late, but I just happened onto your blog and had just posted about pimento cheese on MY blog, so … Your pimento cheese looks tasty. I especially like it in tea sandwiches with a nice cup of strong black tea.