Before the summer gets completely away from us and we want more than sandwiches for supper, here’s a classic Southern recipe for pimento cheese sandwiches. I had no idea until I read this NPR story that pimento cheese is just a Southern thing. I probably should have guessed though, since we often eat pimento cheese sandwiches with fried chicken and sweet tea.
If you’ve ever tried pimento cheese spread from a carton at the grocery store, please try as hard as possible to purge that memory from your mind. That stuff if horrible and should not be called pimento cheese. The recipe below is what you would get if you were at a bridal tea or church potluck on a Sunday afternoon in the Deep South. It’s a culmination of the recipes from the best pimento cheese makers from my hometown.
The sandwich pictured above is made on my Brown Rice & Buckwheat Sandwich Bread. Traditionally, pimento cheese sandwiches are made from white bread with the crusts cut off, and the sandwiches are cut into halves (rectangular) or fourths (triangular). I’ve also had pimento cheese as a topping on steaks and hamburgers. Whichever way you choose to serve it, pimento cheese one Southern special that you should try.
(approx. 6 sandwiches)
8 oz. medium cheddar cheese, grated
2 oz. cream cheese (optional, but suggested)
grated onion (optional, but suggested)
3/8 – 1/4 c. mayonnaise or Vegannaise
2 oz. jar of pimentos
dash of red pepper (optional)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1. Grate the cheddar cheese on the fine side of your grater. If you have time, set the cheese out on the counter for a few minutes before you grate it. The closer the cheese is to room temperature the better it will combine with the other ingredients.
2. Cut the cream cheese into small cubes and add it to the cheddar cheese. The cubing will make it easier to combine.
3. Cut a white or yellow onion in half and peel on half. Run the cut side of the peeled half over the coarse side of your grater 10 – 20 times. (Hold the grater over the mixing bowl because there will be some onion juice). If you don’t like onions, you can omit this step. If you like onions, be sure to include this step because it really boosts the flavor.
4. Now add the remaining ingredients: mayonnaise, pimentos (including the liquid), red pepper, salt and pepper. Stir ingredients until well combined and until there are no visible chunks of cream cheese.
1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spread a thin layer of butter on one side of your bread slices. Put the bread butter side down into the skillet and cook until the bread begins to brown.
2. Once the bread is browned, remove it from the skillet. Spread a thick layer of pimento cheese on the bread. Top with lettuce and another slice of bread. You’re done!