|The happy graduate with her proud father, Harry, and her proud Aunt Sue|
Pimento cheese isn't new to me--I like to try it wherever I see it (mostly in the south.) If you don't follow golf, you might not know that the Masters golf tournament serves only a few kinds of sandwiches, including pimento cheese on white bread. The recipe is closely guarded, as you can imagine.
As I hunted for the right recipe, I found there are more variations than you can shake a stick at. The toasted pecans (not at all traditional,) the onions, the scallions, the pimento only, the mayonnaise contingent vs the cream cheese adders. The white cheese, the yellow cheese, the sharp, the mild...even some Parmesan.
Here's what I decided on, and my testers declared it:
Lucy's Perfect Pimento Cheese
6 cups shredded sharp white cheddar (don't buy a pre-shredded package, if you can help it)
4 oz Greek cream cheese (half is Greek yogurt--more protein, less fat)
7-8 oz red peppers in oil, chopped
1 bunch scallions, cleaned and chopped--mostly white parts, sauteed in tiny amount of butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise, more if needed (I used Hellmann's)
dash of Tabasco sauce, to taste
Shred the cheese, combine in a large bowl with cream cheese, beat until well mixed. (I used an electric mixer.) Add the red peppers and scallions, mix well. Add the mayo. If the mixture isn't the right texture for
spreading, you may add more, plus hot sauce to taste.
Chill in a pretty bowl and serve with crackers and celery. Or use in sandwiches.
That is my version. Now I will give you my niece's father's version, which was to die for!
Harry's Dumbwaiter Pimento Cheese
2 lbs of high quality yellow sharp cheddar cheese
2 lbs of white Vermont cheddar cheese
6 medium red peppers, roasted then peeled and seeded, processed until all same texture, by pulsing, but not pureed
Take edible parts of 2 leeks and dice, sauté in butter until translucent
Tip: Leeks are always gritty so after you dice let them wash in fresh cold water for a few minutes. Then take your hand and scoop them from the top leaving the grit in the bottom of the bowl.
1 cup or 1 ½ cup of mayonnaise, depending on desired creaminess
Light Dash or 2 of hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix ingredients all together.
Allow mixture to sit for 4 hours so that cheese can absorb flavors of other ingredients
NOTE FROM HARRY: I was the Sous Chef at The Dumbwaiter in downtown Norfolk, working under Chef Sydney Meers. This was his recipe and one of the most popular items on the menu. We used pimento cheese in many ways, such as, Pimento cheese crème fraise , pimento cheese cream sauce, polenta, spinach and pimento cheese dish that Sydney called lasagna, pimento cheese topped tart apples on oven baked turkey sandwiches to name a few. Southern Living magazine came to The Dumbwaiter on a tour of Norfolk and when the article was written (which wasn’t even a food article) the writer stated that the Pimento cheese at The Dumbwaiter was worth the trip to Norfolk.
Now back to me, Lucy. The only pimento cheese mistake I made while in the South was ordering a grilled pimento cheese sandwich in a deli. The bread was a fake whole wheat and the cheese very heavy on warm mayo. Honestly, we couldn't even make it through half a sandwich. And we were hunnnnnnggggrey!
But I can vouch for both of the recipes here--they make the perfect snack for reading. Serve with crackers and celery.
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And don't forget to order TOPPED CHEF so you have something to eat while reading--guaranteed to make you hungry!
In case you think I'm making more of a fuss about pimento cheese than it warrants, look what upcoming book I found in Publishers Marketplace:
From Publishers Marketplace 6/6/13
Perre Magness's PIMENTO CHEESE, celebrating this classic Southern favorite (Pimento is a religion in the South) -- with recipes history, anecdotes and tips, to BJ Berti at St. Martin's, for publication in Fall 2014, by Lisa Ekus of The Lisa Ekus Group (NA).