Emily’s Pimento Cheese
Pimento Cheese is another Southern staple but many seem to be in two camps… I love it or I hate it! Most have never tasted homemade pimento cheese, rather the store bought, “slick” mayonnaise loaded variety. My daughter Emily made this one holiday season and it remains a staple in my kitchen. Simple to make and great for finger sandwiches, served on crackers for an appetizer or spread on a hot roll for a quick evening snack. If you have a food processor this is the time to find the shredding blade. Otherwise, pull out the box grater. Avoid pre-shredded cheese if possible; the flavor is richer when you start with a block of cheese.
You’ll be slow to buy pre-packaged pimento cheese ever again!
16 ounce block extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounce jar pimentos
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Duke’s or Hellman’s)
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ -¾ teaspoon kosher salt, to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Line a colander with cheesecloth or a paper towel and drain as much liquid from the pimentos as possible. Transfer to a chopping board and chop. In a large bowl add the pimentos along with the cheese, mayonnaise and seasonings. Add more cayenne or chili powder if you like it a bit spicier. Mix well to combine. If your schedule permits, refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to meld together.