Pimento cheese is one of those things that slipped under the radar until I moved to the South ten years ago. It's not to be found in California, and when I moved to North Carolina 10 years ago, I think I must have tried one in a hurry, prepackaged from a grocery store, and thought, "Eh." It did the trick when I was starving, but wasn't something I sought out. You can find it in any true Southern deli, and the range of quality is as wide as the South itself. It can be delicious and it can be downright nasty.
I decided to try my hand at making it at home this weekend because I really, really like the idea of Pimento Cheese. My husband was skeptical, but I won him over in the end. You can play with the flavors a little here--add a little more hot sauce for more heat or more garlic for kick--but I like the combination below for its balance.
Now, if you're not from the South, you won't know what to do with this! Most Southerners just spread it on some white bread and eat it plain. And although I'm having it this way for lunch today, I'll show you later in the week what I actually made it for. Shhhhh...it's a surprise!
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup Monterey jack cheese, grated
1/4 cup mayonaisse
3 Tbl chopped pimentos
1 garlic clove, minced
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 tsp hot sauce
Whip the cream cheese with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Keep refrigerated.
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