There’s nothing more American than apple pie, baseball, and bald eagles.
Unless it’s pimento cheese.
Pimento cheese is a thoroughly southern staple, one whose history goes back to the early 20th century. According to Indy Week’s Brief History of Pimento Cheese, it started as a status symbol for the fancies, gracing the tables during tea parties.
Eventually, as pimentos and processed cheese became more readily available, pimento cheese found its way into the lunch bags of textile workers, eaten on white bread or with crackers.
Nowadays, pimento cheese is practically available on every corner. Creamy and fatty and so good you don’t want to stop. Pimento cheese, you are saucy minx.
There are a lot of good options down here in the south, like Stan’s Original Pimento Cheese or the Winston-Salem jam Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese. (Try their Hickory Smoked Cheddar. I can’t even.)
But, you can make pimento cheese just as easily as you can buy it. Every self respecting southern Grandma/Maw-Maw/Me-Maw or Granny has some in her fridge.
I made this recipe for pimento cheese from Food 52. I didn’t have celery salt, so I used celery seed and it worked just as well.
Whip up a batch today. Keep it in the fridge. Slather it on a cracker or scoop it up with some celery. Put it on a grilled cheese with some bacon and tomato.
And God bless the USA.
Parker + Otis’ Pimento Cheese, from Food52
- 2 cups sharp yellow cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
- 2 cups extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 8 ounces)
- 1 cup drained pimentos or roasted red peppers, finely chopped
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- To serve: crackers, baguette slices, assorted raw vegetables
Mix ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; chill. Transfer dip to serving bowl. Surround with crackers, baguette slices, and vegetables. Alternately, make sandwiches (below).
Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches with Bacon & Tomato
- Pimento Cheese Dip (above)
- 12 slices sourdough bread
- 12 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
- 1 large, ripe tomato, sliced
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread pimento cheese on 6 of the slices of sourdough. Top the cheese for each sandwich with 2 slices of bacon, 1 slice of tomato, then a second slice of bread. Toast each sandwich in a large skillet over low heat till golden brown on both sides, flipping as needed.