Pimento Cheese. What do you think of when you read those two words? This phrase, and food, was introduced to me by a wacky co-worker of mine, Hadden, when we lived in Florida, back in my garlic-naïve days (turns out, they were actually pimento cheese-naïve days as well). Hadden claimed that he had the absolute best recipe for pimento cheese and threatened day after day to bring it into work for me to try it.
Now, Hadden was kind of a crazy, good ole’ boy so I thought maybe he was just making it up because I had no idea on God’s green earth what he was talking about. I thought I knew what pimentos were and I certainly knew what cheese was, but I had no idea how those two things were supposed to make one life-altering dish like he was describing.
Well, Hadden eventually brought in his famous pimento cheese. For those of you who don’t know much about pimento cheese, well, it’s basically a Southern dish of cheddar cheese, mayo, and pimentos. So as Hadden watched me with a wild sort of look in his eye as I bit into his world-famous pimento cheese sandwich, frankly, I was underwhelmed by the whole experience. I just couldn’t see what all the pimento cheese hype was about…until this recipe came along.
I found this treasure in a Paula Dean magazine a couple years ago and tweaked it to my liking and, wow, now I’m a believer. As you read the list of ingredients, you may get a little skeptical, especially if you’re new to pimento cheese like I was. But this little combination is magical; slathered between two pieces of sourdough and grilled, well, it’s downright amazing. Take a chance on this, and I think you’ll be a convert as well.
Grilled Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
¾ c. canned diced tomatoes with chilies
½ c. mayo
½ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. garlic salt
1/4 c. jarred pimentos, chopped
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (I strongly suggest you get the whole block of cheese and shred it yourself instead of trying to cheat with the pre-shredded stuff. I hate shredding too, but I’m a firm believer that it builds character… and I think it tastes better.)
1 c. pecans, chopped (You could go ahead and toast these as well and add a little more nutty depth to the dish, or not. Depends upon the amount of sanity you still have remaining at this point in the day.)
¼ c. green onion, chopped
Sourdough Bread, sliced
Stir the first four ingredients together in a large bowl, then add the pimentos, cheese, pecans, and onions; mix well. In grilled cheese fashion, butter bread and sandwich Pimento Cheese in the middle, grilling on each side till golden brown and cheese is melted. Then put on a video for the kids, quietly escape back to the kitchen, and enjoy this tasty little number in the peace and quiet. And then go ahead and throw another on the griddle because one just won’t be enough. I promise.