For some reason, I've been craving pimento cheese. I'm blaming the small little sandwich that I had at our church picnic back in October.
In the South, pimento cheese can be found all over the place...in sandwiches, on celery, with potato chips, on burgers. When I was growing up, I was not a fan. I'm not really sure why either. You would think that as Southern child who loved cheese that it would've been right up my alley, but it wasn't. Maybe I had it confused with cottage cheese. Maybe I had tried some version that was really spicy which turned me off. Whatever the reason, I didn't like it until my friend Amy shared some of her mother's pimento cheese one night several years ago. She made served it grilled cheese style, and I was in love.
After that, I tried various store bought brands, and most were misses. The deli at Harris Teeter, however, has the best pimento cheese in the world. You can get regular or with jalapenos. The Publix version, however, offers a lot to be desired. I blame it on the green onions in theirs. My friend Kelly is enamored with Palmetto Cheese which is a brand out of Pawley's Island, SC, and I have to admit that it was excellent. But you know me, I want to have my own homemade version!
My first stop in my hunt for the perfect recipe started with the cookbook that my church recently put out. There was a simple one with all the basic ingredients...cheddar cheese, pimentos, mayo, but for some reason, I sought more. Could it really be that simple? Another recipe in that collection had pecans in it which to me just doesn't seem right. The version in my Southern Living All-Time Favorite Recipes, Volume 1 included grated onion, Worcestershire sauce, and ground red pepper. I decided to go with the simple one and then try adding to it from there. I didn't go all crazy and just added a couple of things. Not bad for my first try! I think that if I had it to do all over again (and I will!), I would substitute a sprinkle of red pepper for the ground black pepper. Something about it is a little overpowering. I've left out the pepper in the recipe below.
If I try it again (which I'm sure I will), I'll be sure to post any updated changes.
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar (from a bag)
1 cup shredded mild cheddar (shredded by hand)
1 4 oz jar of diced pimentos
1 cup light mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix ingredients together in a bowl and enjoy!