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It’s tomato season and in my neck of the woods that means pimento cheese sandwiches

July 11, 2009

Pimento cheese spread–such a simple thing, yet, without doubt, the nectar of the gods–okay–okay a Southerner’s God!  But, I swear you Yankees would love it if you just gave it half a chance!

I, personally, crave pimento cheese.  But, ONLY in the summer, and more specifically, just during tomato season. Why, you ask?  Because what is pimento cheese without fresh tomatoes?  It’s a hillbilly appetizer served with Ritz crackers, that’s what it is!  BUT, add tomatoes of the homegrown, just picked off the vine variety, and, well, then it’s a SANDWICH! And not just any kind of sandwich.  It’s a gourmet sandwich.. It’s the difference between a sirloin and a fillet. Know what I mean?

Now that’s not saying I like my pimento cheese gourmay’d up, cuz’ I don’t.   I want it pure and simple.  And that’s how I make it.  With just 4 ingredients.

ingredients copyHellman’s mayo–I use the light variety these days for obvious reasons, but if you’re courageous, the full-bodied mayo is beyond compare.  Add to that a jar of sliced pimentos, a good sharp cheddar cheese and a good jack or marble jack cheese, some Louisiana hot sauce ( I use the roasted garlic flavor, but you could use the plain and add garlic powder if ya want), and that’s it.  Really.  That’s all there is to it.

I start by shredding 12 oz cheese (6 of sharp cheddar, and 6 of marble jack or plain jack–you could even use all cheddar if that’s all you have on hand).

I shred it by hand because I like the texture better than I do in a food processor,

grating cheese copy

but you can use the processor if ya want.

cheese up closeAin’t it pretty?  I jus’ love cheese!

Now, move the cheese (every last shred of it) from the bowl to your food processor.  (Use the propeller blade attachment) Add a 4 oz jar of undrained sliced pimentos, 2/3 to 3/4  c. mayo (depending on how gooey you like it–I likes it gooey) and give a bottle of Louisiana Roasted Garlic Hot Sauce about 8-10 shakes on top of the whole mess. (if you can’t find the garlic hot sauce, use the regular and add about an 1/8 tsp of garlic powder)

combine ingred

Start pulsing and continue til everything is combined and it looks like….well, it looks like pimento cheese spread!

voila the mix

Next, scrape that luscious blob  into a container and cover tightly.  Refrigerate for several hours or overnight (overnight is better) Otherwise, the mixture will have a chalky texture instead of the creamy yummy over the top texture you really want in a pimento cheese spread.

Now this is where I part the ways with a lot of other pimento cheese enthusiasts.  I do not  like to scoop my pimento cheese spread onto Ritz crackers, or (God forbid) dip a stalk of celery in it.  IMO that’s just crazy!

Trust me on this one!

You need to take a fresh, still warm from the garden, tomato and slice it thick.

slice the tomatoes

Resist! Resist I say, from cramming those juicy slices into your mouth now.  Resist and you will be rewarded!  Because it’s time to spread the cheese!

spread the cheese

Spread it onto a hunk of good bread–or if, like me– you are on a perpetual diet, spread it onto a piece of reduced calorie cardboard bread.

Carefully place a tomato slab on top of the cheese–and don’t forget to do this step with a flourish–this IS the essence of the sandwich.

add the tomato

Sprinkle the tomato with salt and pepper, add a few chips to the plate, (Lays are the best)

perfect sandwich

pour yourself a frosty glass of sweet tea, (or a frosty mug of beer),  find a quiet corner in your house, (insert sigh) and just give in to the moment.

PIMENTO CHEESE SPREAD

6 oz block of sharp cheddar

6 oz block marble jack or monterey jack

2/3-3/4 cup mayonaise (can use the light version)

1- 4 oz jar sliced pimento, undrained

8-10 drops Louisiana Roasted Garlic Hot Sauce (or plain hot sauce plus 1/8 tsp garlic powder)

Shred cheeses by hand and combine in food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse til ingredients are blended but the cheese is still pretty much intact.

Refrigerate in airtight container for several hours or overnight.

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