You'd be hard-pressed to devise a more decadent way to enjoy "the pate of the South" than this version of a pimento cheese sandwich created by executive chef Elizabeth Karmel.
Make Ahead: You’ll have pimento cheese left over, which can be refrigerated for up to 1
- For the cheese
- 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated by hand
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, such as Hellman's
- 2 tablespoons whole-milk cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup jarred diced pimentos, plus some of the jar liquid
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 12 slices pickled jalapeno pepper, chopped
- For the sandwiches
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 8 slices Texas (thick) toast
- 8 tablespoons pimento cheese (see above)
- 1 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
For the cheese: Use a fork to blend the cheese and mayonnaise in a mixing bowl until it is well combined and holds together. Add the cream cheese, diced pimento and enough of the pimento liquid to make the mixture fairly smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The yield should be about 2 1/2 cups.
For the sandwiches: Heat about 3 inches of oil in a cast-iron or heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium-high heat. The oil should reach a temperature of 375 degrees. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.
Meanwhile, lay four bread slices on a cutting board; place 2 tablespoons of the pimento cheese in the center of each one. Sprinkle the cheese with the chopped jalapenos. Top with the remaining slices of bread to create 4 sandwiches. Use a sharp knife to cut off and discard the crusts of each sandwich. Pinch together the edges of the trimmed sandwiches to seal all sides. Refrigerate until the oil is ready for frying.
Whisk together the flour, salt, white pepper and paprika in a medium bowl. Whisk together the eggs and milk in a separate medium bowl.
Working with one sandwich at a time, dunk the sandwich into the egg mixture just long enough to let the bread absorb some of the mixture, then into the flour mixture, coating it completely. Carefully lower into the hot oil; fry for about 4 minutes, turning it over as needed, until light golden brown and crisped. Transfer to the wire rack to drain and cool for at least 1 minute before cutting in half and serving.
Adapted from Hill Country Chicken in New York.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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