Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pimento Cheese {Fun Food Trend}

One of this year's hot food trends (according to everyone from Bon Apetit to Nation's Restaurant News) is pimento cheese. If you don't hail from the South, you may not be familiar with this traditional spread but if, like me, you grew up below the Mason-Dixon pimento cheese is practically a staple.  Made primarily from cheddar cheese, chopped pimentos and mayonnaise, this tangy concoction is served everywhere from lunchboxes to garden parties.  In the South, you can find it in grocery stores but purists make their own (I know I do).

Now pimento cheese is making an appearance all over the country, on caterers menus and at weddings. Like all great comfort food, pimento cheese can be dressed up or down so creative chefs are putting it in everything from crostinis to gourmet macaroni and cheese to savory cheesecakes. I've even seen goat gouda versions of pimento cheese. 

I love the photo at the top of the blog of tiny pimento cheese favors. How fun to send guests home with samples of delicious pimento cheese!  

For those who want to try their hand at homemade pimento cheese, here is my favorite recipe courtesy of the fabulous North Carolina cook, Molly Weston. It is quick and easy and so yummy!

Pimento Cheese

3/4 lb. sharp Cheddar, grated
3/4 lb. sharp white Cheddar, grated
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 tsp sugar
salt & pepper to taste
Tabasco to taste
1 cup Duke's mayonnaise (approx.)

Mix cheeses until blended. (I use food processor.) Add peppers (chopped if not using food processor),
sugar, salt & pepper, and Tabasco. Add enough mayonnaise to make mixture spreading consistency.
Refrigerate till about 1 hour before serving.