I’ve risen from the dead y’all.
Pimento cheese may be one of my favorite foods in the world. I’m typically the first one running to the sign-up sheet before a pot luck because it gives me a grand excuse to make it. I need to curb my opportunities to group settings, otherwise I would just make it for myself all the time, which would result in my drunk eating it by the spoonful in refrigerator light at 2 a.m. on a Tuesday.
Anyway, I make mine with roasted red peppers. Don’t be mad. I’m in Boston and pimentos are hard to find since Trader Joe’s stopped carrying their little jars of roast piquillos. Albert Burneko does an excellent job taking the blame defending the use of roasted red peppers for pimento cheese. Except he recommends you roast the peppers yourself for optimum payoff.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Well, onto the good stuff:
Pimento cheese (without the pimentos)
4 cups shredded cheese (I like to use a mix of fine and medium shred sharp cheddar. Literally every version of this recipe you will ever read will damn the use of pre-shred, bagged cheese and demand that you box shred yourself. I’ve used both. We cool.)
Best quality mayo you can find (No low-fat/light bullshit. And don’t even talk to me about Miracle Whip.)
One jar of roasted red peppers, finely chopped, juices reserved
Salt, pepper, cayenne
In a giant bowl, add half of your cheese and mix in your chopped peppers. Give it a good stir and add in a heaping spoonful of mayo. Mash with a fork (this is important) until it has the effect of a paste. Add in the rest of your cheese, a few splashes of pepper juice, and another spoonful of mayo. Mash. Check consistency? Spreadable? No? Add another spoonful of mayo. Mash again.
The important thing is to not get greedy. Mayo can become extremely overpowering and is basically just invited to the party to give the mixture some grip.
Once you’ve reached spreadable consistency, give it a good healthy shake of cayenne. I like a lot. You might like a little. Or maybe you like none at all — you baby.
I also like a good cracking of salt and pepper, but it’s entirely not necessary. Then into the fridge it goes.
Wait a few hours (or days, whatever) and bask in the glory of the great culinary minds of the South.
I like it spread on Ritz crackers or as a dip for pretzel slims. Or in a grilled cheese sandwich. Also, good on celery stalks if you want to take one of the world’s only calorie burning foods assault it with cheesy goodness.