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Pimento Cheese

August 23, 2012

I made pimento cheese (as it’s spelled down south) for the first time to serve at our Christmas party last year, especially for my friend Alex. He had recently moved back to upstate New York after spending the past year at a residency in Asheville, North Carolina, where he discovered the yumminess that is pimento cheese on nearly every restaurant menu.

It’s a very versatile spread – delicious on anything from crackers and veggies to sandwiches, and this version from the Gourmet Cookbook is super easy to make. The pimientos and cayenne pepper add just the right amount of tanginess and spiciness without being overwhelming. It’s also perfect if you need to prepare an appetizer ahead of time – it will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Pimento cheese

Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2  pound extra-sharp Vermont white cheddar
  • 1/2  pound extra-sharp New York orange cheddar
  • 1  (7-ounce) jar pimientos, drained and finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cayenne to taste
  • 2/3  cup mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Line a small bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap. (Skip this step if you prefer to serve directly from the bowl rather than turning out onto a plate.)
  2. Finely grate cheeses into a large bowl. With a fork, stir in pimientos, salt to taste, black pepper, and cayenne, then stir in mayonnaise, mashing mixture until fairly smooth. (It should be flecked with small pieces of pimiento.) Scrape into prepared bowl and refrigerate, covered, for at least 2 hours to allow flavors to develop.
  3. Bring cheese to room temperature, then turn out onto a small plate. Remove plastic wrap and serve.

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