Pimento cheese, if you’re not familiar, is a savory spread from the South that you should get to know this summer. It’s a blend of cheese and jarred pimento peppers, seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper and made creamy with just a touch of mayonnaise.
A container of pimento cheese and a few sleeves of Ritz crackers are always welcome at a barbecue or a picnic, but the spread is also wonderful on biscuits, celery sticks, cucumber slices, a tomato sandwich or grilled cheese. Also know that a hefty spoonful or two would be right at home stirred into your next pot of macaroni and cheese.
Here are five recipes from our archives to help you and pimento cheese get better acquainted:
Pimento Cheese (pictured in top photo; ingredients above). Smoked Gouda and some finely grated sharp cheddar cheese nuttiness add a little depth to this version. The two tablespoons of water are used to make this extra creamy, so don’t skip it!
Smoked Pimento Cheese. Once you’ve mastered the classic recipe, it’s time to change it up. Here you’ll use roasted red peppers instead of pimentos and add sour cream with the mayo for an extra tangy boost. It’s spiced with hot sauce instead of cayenne and gets an herbal boost from herbes de Provence (a French blend typically made of thyme, rosemary and oregano, among other herbs). The smoky notes come from smoked extra-sharp cheddar cheese.
Lightened-Up Pimento Cheese. Phew! All that mayo and cheese can add up, so for a slightly lighter take, here’s a recipe with low-fat cheddar and low-fat Greek yogurt.
Butter Dips. These old-fashioned biscuits would make an excellent vehicle for pimento cheese. They’re baked in melted butter, so they have an enticing golden brown bottom crust. You can play with the dough, too (see the variations at the end of the recipe): Add sharp cheese, sweet paprika, celery seed, or minced chives or parsley, as shown in the photo above.
Sesame Oat Crackers. The earthy powers of sesame and oat flour combine in these delicate crackers that pair oh so well with sliced ham or, of course, a smear of pimento cheese. (If you can’t find oat flour, you can make your own by pulsing old-fashioned rolled oats in a mini food processor or blender.)
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