This spread has so many culinary uses. Great served with good crackers and crudités ~ use also as a sandwich spread, a burger topper or a stuffing for vegetables. The possibilities are really endless.
Pimento cheese has been a Southern staple for well over 50 years.
It’s served cold, pimento cheese is typically served as a dip or a condiment for sandwiches. Although the recipe was not born in the South ~ I believe it was mastered there, and beloved recipes have been handed down for generations.
My recipe is lightened-up. Surprised? You shouldn’t be ~ I love to tweet recipes and reinvent them! I’ve used top quality ingredients, good mayo – but not too much and added greek yogurt for some tang and a creamy texture.
How mine is different: It has a zesty & spicy flavor – and I add sautéed shallots which are mandatory!!… So good.
I also do not use cream cheese, it’s not necessary as I think the texture is too heavy.
Easy to prepare! A batch of Pimento Cheese comes together in minutes, and keeps well in the refrigerator, I store in a tightly sealed glass container.
What make it Southern style? I would say the level of spiciness, and the lack of cream cheese.
Use the best quality ingredients – starting with the cheeses. Many Wisconsin cheddars are yellow (colored with anatto); Vermont cheddars are typically white. I choose a “sharp” style cheddar that is well aged – you can taste the texture of crystallization – ooh so good.
Cream cheese was first being mass produced around 1873 near Philadelphia. By the mid-1880s the vast majority of cream cheese was being produced in New York. New York was also a major import hub, making it quite easy to get access to those wonderful canned Spanish peppers. The accessibility of these ingredients is likely why we saw this recipe first appear here.
Everyone had fairly easy access to packaged cream cheese, but the pimento peppers were expensive to import. An industrious Georgian farmer saw an opportunity and started growing and distributing them in the U.S. Some say this is what brought the dish to the South, but when exactly hasn’t been able to be pinned down.
The recipe, and its culture even, was not only changed when it made its way South — it was improved. Getting a taste for pimentos, Southerners kept the idea and prepared it scratch-made and flavorful…basically more Southern!
While pimento cheese was being served at dinner parties in the North, the South’s version morphed in grandma’s kitchen over the years. The flavor of the original was very mild, so they traded it for the bolder cheddar cheese. To balance out the texture they added mayonnaise. The diced up pimentos though, never left the equation. The mayo-to-cheese ratio makes the whole dish just a little chunkier and a whole lot tastier.
See RECIPE: Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe ~ THE Spread for Everything!