You don’t really need a recipe for the ‘classic’ pimento cheese, do you? All it is, really, is grated cheddar, a jar of drained (diced) pimentos, maybe a scant Tablespoon of finely minced onion and a dash of worcestershire, and enough mayo to bind everything together. Some people, at this point, also blend it together a little in the food processor, which I find slightly disconcerting and wholely unnecessary. You could even, I suppose, stir in some softened cream cheese to make it even more decadent, but we are already talking about something made entirely of CHEESE and MAYONNAISE so I say, why go overboard, especially with the cost of cream cheese being what it is?
But! What you DO need a recipe for is this pimento cheese, because it’s got a kick. And tomatoes in it, so…it’s slightly healthier?
A while back I was on the phone with one of my friends who lives in California (and often gloats about the weather), and she ended the conversation with, “Well, I’ve got to go. I have to make this pimento cheese for a potluck, but I can’t grate the cheese and talk on the phone at the same time. I mean, I could, but it would be really difficult and I might pull a muscle.”
At which point I was like, Wait. You are making pimento cheese for Californians?!?
Oh, yes, she said. In fact, it was specifically requested by a Californian, because he liked it so much the first time she made it that he ate half the bowl and requisitioned the leftovers.
Was this just your regular, run-of-the-mill pimento cheese?
It was not.
It was pimento cheese with a bite to it, made partly with pepper jack and with a can of Ro-tel tomatoes stirred in to boot.
Ten minutes later I finally let her off the phone, but only after she promised to send me the recipe.
Depending on the level of spiciness you like, you can use either all pepper jack cheese, or half cheddar; and mild Ro-tel or regular. Either way, it really is very good–good enough for Californians, even.Southwest-Style Pimento Cheese 8 oz pepper-jack cheese, grated 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated (or use additional pepper-jack)
1 10-oz can Ro-tel tomatoes, drained ~3/4 – 1 cup mayonnaise (just enough to bind everything together; add more or less depending on your personal preference [you can substitute lite mayo here]) 1 tsp worcestershire
2 oz. jar diced pimentos, drained (optional–I feel like the tomatoes give this recipe enough extra color that you don’t miss the pimentos, plus those darn little jars are kind of expensive when you consider the amount of food that is actually in them) salt and pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients together, adding more mayo if needed to get a more ’spreadable’ consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill until ready to serve.
Serve with crackers and veggies, or spread it on a sandwich or biscuit and top with sliced fresh tomatoes.