Pimento Cheese just got smokin' good.
Today I stood at my kitchen counter with a bowl of grated cheese and a jar of pimentos and channeled my Grandma Waller. I could so clearly recall watching her stand in her kitchen in North Carolina, by the white cabinets my Grandfather was so proud of building for her. She wore aprons, usually in faded prints. A stack of white Sunbeam bread would be on the counter waiting to be spread with the Pimento Cheese and then toasted. She would be using a fork, a little mayonnaise, a few cheese slices and a jar of pimentos. After both sides of bread were filled, pressed together and re-toasted, she would cut them in half on the diagonal and place them on a plate that was also a faded print. On occasion, Grandma would buy a small tub of Pimento Cheese, made by a company called Jubilee, from the grocery store. It was okay, but never as good or filled with the chunky bits of pimento peppers that her own mix held. Let's face it, how was it going to be better than hand-mashed by Grandma, right? Pimentos are small, red chili peppers that have their own very distinct sweet flavor that differs from red bell peppers. They add a great burst of flavor to scrambled eggs or egg salad, too. I'm kicking the Pimento Cheese spread UpTown a little with this recipe that uses Smoked Gouda Cheese (like I used in the Olive and Smoked Gouda Gougeres.) I added a little dash of powdered mustard that gives a little bite in the background, and I hand smashed the spread to keep my Grandma's chunky texture that I loved so much.
I think my Grandma would've liked this Pimento Smokey Cheese spread, especially with her morning cup of Sanka. Pimento Smokey Cheese Sandwich:
1 jar of pimentos
3 oz finely grated Smoked Gouda Cheese
1 tsp mustard powder
1-2 Tbls. Mayonnaise
salt/pepper to taste
1) In a bowl add the cheese and pimentos from the jar (drained, but not washed off.) Smash together with a fork until incorporated.
2) Add the mayo, mustard powder, salt and pepper and using the fork incorporate all the ingredients into a spread. Adjust seasoning to your taste.
3) Spread on toasted slices, add some greens or pickles, and toast together. **Optionally leave the sandwich open-faced for a Tartine, or use the spread as a veggie or cracker dip.