Earlier this year I discovered the amazingness that is pimento cheese.
I went to Lexington for work and we went to this amazing little place to eat called Stella’s Kentucky Deli. I really went for the hot brown, but came away with a newfound love and appreciation for pimento cheese. (The hot brown was also insanely delicious.)
At Stella’s, they served their pimento cheese with toasted white bread triangles and slices of the juiciest, ripest tomato I have ever eaten in the middle of winter. Like seriously, I would move there to eat tomatoes like that in the middle of winter. It was the kind of tomato that made you wonder what that crap is you’re buying every week at the grocery store.
The flavor combination of that thin white, toasty soft bread plus the juicy ripe tomato plus the tangy pimento cheese – it’s like a match made in heaven.
I had found out why southerners are always raving about pimento cheese. And putting it on all their menus. And putting it on everything they make.
So of course I embarked on a mission to recreate Stella’s pimento cheese. Although I wouldn’t mind going back to Lexington, just to eat at Stella’s again.
And buy bourbon. (Town Branch what’s up?! Holla at me. I loved your bourbon and can’t get it here.)
So this is the closest I have come to recreating Stella’s pimento cheese. I truly hope you enjoy it the same way I did. I think you’ll find it’s addicting and of course worth every single calorie. 🙂
Adapted from Sean Brock’s recipe in Heritage (which I can’t wait to buy!)
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup Duke’s mayo (if you can’t find Duke’s, I would recommend Hellmann’s)
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/16 teaspoon (that’s 1/2 of a 1/8 teaspoon) cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 pound sharp white cheddar cheese, grated on the regular holes of the box grater
12 ounces jarred whole pimentos, drained, patted dry, seeds removed, and diced
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix with a sturdy spoon or spatula. This takes some arm strength, but be patient and you’ll get there. The softer your cream cheese, the easier it will be. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve with crackers, or with lightly toasted white bread cut into triangles, and tomato slices. The original recipe states that it will keep for up to 3 days. But no worries, it will be gone before then. 🙂