Pimento Cheese

Beaufort Grocery is one of the best restaurants in NC and just might be my favorite place to dine. This past spring they released a wonderful cookbook, Closed on Tuesdays, that features some of their most desired recipes (buy it). Personally, I was after the recipe for Aunt Marion’s Apple and Onion Salad (great salad), but today I’m covering one of their lunch time favorites, pimento cheese.

The recipe, known as BCG Pimento Cheese, is as follows:

4 cups (16 ounces) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped roasted red pepper
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard or spicy mustard
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Combine the cheese, roasted red pepper and garlic in a large mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt and pepper and mix well. Store in the refrigerator.

The only deviation I take from the original is I cut the garlic in half.  I love garlic, but the first time I made this it was just a bit too much. It could have been bad measuring on my part, but subsequent preparations have been just fine.

Some of you may notice that pimentos are not listed as an ingredient. Technically, you would be correct. Based on what I read on Wikipedia, there is a difference between a pimento pepper and a red bell pepper — “The flesh of the pimento is sweet, succulent and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper”.  Traditionalist may scoff, but its hard to dismiss the taste of a roasted red pepper. It has a flavor all its own and I think its an excellent substitution.

As for the preparation, there are a couple of ways to attack the cheese. You can be a slack ass and buy pre-shredded cheese…

Sidenote:  In the last few days I heard on NPR that shredded cheese was originally developed as a way to deal with the scraps from producing block cheese. The cheese companies initially dismissed the idea. So much for what they know. Its turned out to be a big winner and the companies now make more money from the shredded cheese than they do the blocks.

… or you can shred your own, either by food processor or with the Wes Craven hand shredder (my choice). If you get a little blood in the cheese, no big deal. The juice of peppers will hide it.

For those hoping for some gore, sorry to disappoint. This batch turned out to be blood free. Now all that’s needed is to mix in everything else.

I could eat this straight from the bowl, but its best served between two slices of thick bread that has had a sadistic session with Mr. Panini press. You know its ready when the pimento cheese is oozing out the sides.

The only thing missing was a pickle on the side.

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~ by Genevieve on 2010.10.24.

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