Chef Stephen Tanner at the Commodore in Brooklyn, N.Y., channels the pimento cheese groove with spicier poblanos. He spreads the mixture on buttered country white bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches. Feel free to squirt a bit of hot sauce on the cheese to add zest, or serve some on the side.
Make Ahead: The cheese can be made up to 3 days in advance. You'll have enough of it left over to make 3 more sandwiches.
- 1 medium roasted poblano pepper, minced (see NOTE)
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely grated, at room temperature
- 2 ounces low-fat or regular cream cheese, at room temperature (do not use nonfat)
- 3 tablespoons regular or low-fat mayonnaise (do not use nonfat)
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices country bread
- Salted or unsalted butter, for the bread
Preheat a panini press.
Combine the minced poblano, cheddar cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl until well incorporated.
Lay out the bread slices in 4 pairs. Spread 3 tablespoons of the cheese mixture on four of the slices. Place the remaining four slices on top of the cheese mixture to create 4 sandwiches. Spread the butter on the outside of the sandwiches. Reserve the remaining cheese (see headnote).
Cook 2 sandwiches at a time in the panini press until lightly browned. The cheese should be gooey inside. This will take about 3 or 4 minutes.
Cut each sandwich in half. Serve immediately.
NOTE: Roast the poblano pepper on an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until the skin has blistered. Let cool, then peel and seed it.
Adapted from the Commodore in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Tested by David Hagedorn.
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