What’s wrong with doctoring up the original pimento cheese? Nothing.
Pimento cheese is a very basic preparation. A canvas. A springboard. Shredded cheddar, mayo, and chopped pimentos are all you really need. From there, the sky’s the limit. Experiment! I particularly like this smoky take on the classic. It’s Meathead gone Mad. Back home, my neighbors would say I was puttin’ on airs by fancifying the recipe. It’s a bit more work, but I think it’s worth it.
Serve with: IPA, bourbon, or Cabernet Sauvignon.
- 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 block)
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 ounces grill roasted red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon mustard powder
- ½ teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon Morton coarse kosher salt
About the cream cheese. You can use cream cheese in the brick form, or better still, use the spreadable version in a tub. It's easier to blend.
Optional mix-ins. Add a few tablespoons minced fresh onion, a chopped green jalapeño, a scoop of sweet pickle relish or minced dill peppers, finely chopped olives, chopped toasted pecans, herbs, curry powder, or celery seed. I like to add 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar reduced by half that I keep in a bottle for drizzling.
- Prep. Mix the mayonnaise and cream cheese together in a bowl with a fork until thoroughly blended.
- Grate the cheddar with the large holes of a box grater or put it into a food processor or blender and whack them into pea size bits. Add to the bowl and mix in.
- Chop the roasted red bell pepper into 1/4" bits and add to the bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix. Taste and adjust as you see fit. Chill for a few hours to let the flavors marry. Set out about 15 minutes before serving so it will soften a bit.
- Serve. Serve it with crackers, as a sandwich, on a burger, and more.