Born again cheese spread.
What is it about pimento cheese that makes me think of sitting on a stool at the counter in a drug store (hey, drug stores don’t have lunch counters any more.) having a pimento cheese sandwich on toast with some curly leaf lettuce and a nice pile of crispy dill pickles on the side.
I think pimento cheese is one of those southern things that some people not from the south have not experienced between two pieces of soft white bread or stuffed into celery. It is truly comfort food and most Southerns do not understand why it does not exist outside the south. This favorite sandwich is even served at the Master’s golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia and a Southern picnic wouldn’t be the same with out a pimento cheese sandwich.
Just thinking of little pimento cheese tea sandwiches cut into triangles makes my mouth water. What would an afternoon tea be without pimento cheese sandwiches? Of course anyone from the south knows that you can just as easily use a corn chip or cracker to scoop up this wonderful spread. Add it to grits, stuff celery, slather it on burgers or hot dogs or even use it to make a grilled cheese sandwich.
In my early years of making this mushy, cheesy spread, I simply used Velvetta cheese and added some mayo and pimento and I have to say, it needs a makeover or at least another idea for it’s use.
We have all had Italian and Spanish style bruschetta with tomatoes, cheese, proscuitto and just about every topping you can imagine. If you are like me, you’re always looking for a way to improve on an old recipe and that being the traditional pimento cheese sandwich. So why not Pimento Cheese Bruschetta topped with finely shredded lettuce and some crunchy bacon — a summer bruschetta! (Summer is on his way out, but this would be good any time of the year.) So, whether you try this recipe or your own recipe, try a Pimento Cheese Bruschetta for your next party.
This recipe happens to be from Fleet Landing in Charleston, SC. (I definitely tweaked it.) We had lunch there on our first day of a mother/daughter trip a while back, and sitting out on the water, having drinks and sampling some of their yummy food was a perfect beginning to that trip. Their fried green tomato stacks with crab meat and shrimp stuffed hush-puppies were out of this world, and their recipe for pimento cheese had me want to try to make something extraordinary out of it.
I did change the cheese up a little using white and yellow cheddar so if you only have cheddar use that. I also left out the vinegar because I really didn’t see the purpose of that. After a few adjustments and optional ingredients list, I hope you will try making this for your next little appetizer.
I used my microplane grater but a box grater will do just as well.
Pimento Cheese Brushetta
(adapted from Fleet Landing Pimento Cheese)
Baguette slices (slice on angle)
finely shredded head lettuce, for garnish (or pea sprouts)
fried bacon, crumbled, for garnish
1/2 lb. white cheddar, shredded (or use all yellow), do not use packaged grated cheeses
1/2 lb. yellow cheddar, shredded
2 large roasted peppers (or use one large jar of chopped pimento
3/4 c. mayo (I used Duke’s)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. celery seed, optional
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
To roast the peppers either hold over a flame on stove, grill or put under broiler until charred. Put the charred peppers into a paper sack and close and let stet for about 15 minutes. Remove the skin from the peppers and finely chop.
Mix the peppers with all the other ingredients, except for the bacon and the bread slices. The mixture will be a little loose. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours. It will be firmer once it is chilled. You can add a little more cheese to reach the desired consistency.
For the brushetta, brush slices of the baguette with a little olive oil and brown the slices in a 375° oven until nicely browned. Cool. Spread with pimento cheese and top with a few pieces of fried, crumbled bacon. Serve and enjoy.
I left out the vinegar that Fleet’s Landing added to their pimento cheese and cut back on the Worcestershire Sauce. They called for 1 1/2 oz. and I put 1 teaspoon.
If you want a more creamy pimento cheese you can add 3 oz. of cream cheese softened and use your stand mixer to beat it all together. Or you could actually use as a base an 8 ounce package of Velvetta (yikes) to give it a creamier texture.
Here are some other additions you may or may not like:
Pickled jalapeño peppers, chopped
Black or Green olives, chopped
Dash of Tabasco sauce