When we were growing up, pimiento cheese sandwiches were something typical to expect if we went over to a friend's house for lunch. Mothers assembled these sandwiches in one of two ways -- either with the bread crust included, or with the bread crust cut off. If the sandwiches were for children, the bread crust was usually left on. If they were for a ladies' gathering, the crusts were cut off, and the sandwiches cut into four triangular pieces on white bread for tea lunch. (The typical companion tea sandwiches consisted of thinly sliced cucumbers and mayo on wheat bread.)
Pimiento cheese is a versatile dish that goes beyond sandwiches. Its tangy flavor lends itself well to being used as a cocktail spread with crackers, or as a dip for celery or other vegetables. Lately, we've embraced pimiento cheese as an ideal topping for grilled hamburgers. In the South, prepared pimiento cheese can often be found in the dairy section or deli counter at grocery stores. Outside of the South, you'll likely need to buy the pimientos by the jar and make the pimiento cheese spread yourself.
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
1 jar pimientos
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon grated onion or onion powder
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon mild cayenne pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of sugar (optional)
Pinch of salt (optional)
Grate the cheese and place in a mixing bowl. Dice the pimientos and add them to the bowl along with some of the juice from the jar. Add the mayonnaise and remaining ingredients, and mix well or blend in a food processor. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more mayonnaise until it spreads easily.
SouthernAirs developed some of these recipes, aiming as always for authenticity. Others are on loan from cited friends and relatives, or from authoritative sources with permission.