Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pimento Cheese BLT – No Recipe Required



This is a combination of two of my all time favorite sandwiches – pimento cheese topped with a BLT and served open-faced. Mention pimento cheese to me and my mind is immediately transported back to the south where I grew up. There was always a jar of rich, yellow cheese combined with my mother’s homemade mayonnaise and studded with bits of red pimento in our refrigerator.

As soon as I was old enough to grate cheese, making pimento cheese became my job. It was one of the few things I was allowed to do in my mother’s kitchen as a child. With only three ingredients, there was no need for a written recipe. I grated the cheese on a box grater and added drained chopped pimentos (no need for a knife if you use the pre-chopped ones in the jar) and added just enough of her homemade mayonnaise to bind the cheese and the pimentos together. As I look back, this was a great way to teach kids how to use a box grater.



As with any recipe that relies on only a few ingredients, the quality of the ingredients is very important. The foundation of a good pimento cheese starts with good homemade mayonnaise. I like to make mine in the food processor.  Here’s a link to a recent post about how to make mayonnaise the easy way in the food processor. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own mayonnaise, cooks throughout the south rely on Hellman’s or Dukes. No Miracle Whip here – it’s too sweet.

A good aged American cheddar is also essential. My favorites are New York and Vermont cheddar. No matter what kind of aged cheddar you use, it is essential that the cheese be freshly grated. Grating the cheese, either by using a hand or box grater, or in the food processor, makes all the difference in the world in the end result. Not only does freshly grated cheese taste a thousand times better than the pre-grated stuff found in packages in the supermarket, it also binds much more easily with the mayonnaise.



Pimentos are the third ingredient and here’s where I differ from the original. Even as a child, I thought pimentos never had much flavor, so I’ve substituted chopped bottled roasted red peppers for the pimentos. Sometimes I also like my pimento cheese on the spicy side, so I throw in some finely chopped fresh jalapenos and if it’s not hot enough, a dash or two of Tabasco sauce does the trick.

The sandwich is served open-faced with the pimento cheese spread on a toasted slice of good country bread (I used a sourdough boule) as a base, topped with crispy fried bacon and thinly sliced ripe tomatoes, seasoned with lots of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, then garnished with baby arugula. When you’re craving comfort food, this is the perfect sandwich.



My inspiration for this sandwich came from this recipe in Cooking Light if you want to refer to it for specific amounts of ingredients. However, I did not use their pimento cheese recipe. I made my own, eyeballing the ingredients as I did as a child. Start with freshly grated cheddar cheese (I used both a yellow and a white cheddar), then add some chopped roasted red peppers or pimentos (patted dry with a paper towel), stir well, then add just enough mayonnaise to bind the ingredients together so they will spread easily. If you like your pimento cheese spicy, add some fresh seeded and chopped jalapenos and a dash or two of Tabasco. If not using right away, it will last, covered, for several days in most people’s refrigerator. Since childhood I’ve been addicted to pimento cheese and confess one of my favorite ways to eat it is on Ritz crackers, so it doesn’t stand a chance of lasting long at our house.


* * *
This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.

Have a great weekend everyone.



Follow my blog with Bloglovin

36 comments:

  1. What a beautiful sandwich! It sounds and looks extremely mouthwatering.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Growing up..there was always a small glass sized jar of Pimento Kraft cheese..then my mom saved the glasses..for juice..
    Have never made my own..and have not bought since mom days..Thanks Sam..I will try..
    I love tomatoes and that slice of bacon ..well:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I Love, love, love Pimento cheese!! Don't eat pig, but with tomato and onion would make a perfect lunch!! Costco has the BEST pimento cheese prepared :-}}

    ReplyDelete
  4. Whew! It isn't even 8 in the morning and I am salivating at the thought of such a sandwich for lunch. Though I'm a northerner, this was my favorite cheese when I was growing up. My sister and I called it Mooshy cheese. My pimento cheese now has the addition of a fourth ingredient: cream cheese - a recipe from a Saveur magazine from eons ago - and there's usually some in my fridge. I know what's for lunch today! Warm regards.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have never eaten pimento cheese, but that certainly doesn't mean I can't! This looks great.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sam - These are the perfect thing for Derby weekend! Thank you! I've been trying to come up with something tasty for the parties this weekend and I think these would be really cute as little bites on cocktail bread. And, yes freshly grated cheese and excellent mayo is a must! I've never given much thought to the pimientos themselves, but you are right. They don't really have very much flavor. I like your idea of adding in roasted red peppers and spicing it up a bit with jalapeno or hot sauce.

    Hope you are doing well!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That looks so good. A great combination. I love pimento cheese.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The only pimento cheese that I ate as a kid was the kind from the store. Hence, I wasn't crazy about it ... unti I made Larry's recipe. Loved it. And I love this version with the bacon and the tomatoes. I see this sandwich in my future, and you can bet I'll put jalapenos in mine. Thanks Sam

    ReplyDelete
  9. I recently heard pimento cheese referred to as "southern pate". Whatever it is called, it is delicious. I add a bit of sweet pickle relish to mine as I think that's what my grandmother and mother did. We love it as a regular sandwich or grilled. I've never thought to add crisp bacon. Why not?!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have never ever had it or heard of it! This sounds wonderful. I don't make homemade mayo because of the raw egg thing - so Hellman's has ruled in my home since I was a wee one. Living in MN, there are many (MANY!) days when comfort is called for and I shall be trying this - with the roasted red peppers - and maybe again with pimento. It just looks so welcoming! And fun!

    ReplyDelete
  11. That is what I want for lunch! Yummy Sam!! Now I have to run to the store :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. My goodness, that looks scrumptious. I'm craving pimento cheese now. I have a friend who loves it ~ we'll have to make these sandwiches. Thanks for sharing a fantastic idea.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pimento cheese is major comfort food and party food. Love it. Funny you should mention that about pimentos because I always thought they didn't taste like much, either. I like a kick to mine, too.

    Love this. If I had the ingredients at hand, I would be eating this for lunch!

    XO,

    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love pimento cheese. I love BLTs. So this just may be my perfect sandwich!

    ReplyDelete
  15. A perfect sandwich for the lunch! I need more easy and delicious recipes like this in my life.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Not growing up in the South I did not realize what I had been missing until adulthood when I finally tried pimiento cheese and potted cheese. It sounds divine on a BLT packed with flavour.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I put roasted red peppers in mine, too. We used a Mouli grater when I was a child. I could eat pimiento cheese every day.♥

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm starving...and drooling! This sandwich combines favorites of mine too. I remember learning to make pimento cheese and you're right...freshly grated cheese is the only way to go! I love the idea of adding roasted red peppers & jalapenos. :) No Miracle Whip for me either ~

    Thanks so much for this wonderful reminder!
    xo
    Pat

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yum. Honestly, Harris-Teeter has the best Pepper Jack Pimento Cheese I've ever tasted! And now that I live in the South, I made my BLT's with smoked, sliced hog jowl.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm a pimiento cheese girl, myself, and, like you, substitute roasted red peppers for pimientos. Pairing it with bacon and tomatoes is new to me though, and it sounds delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh Sam, you made me smile. Pimento cheese is truly a southern tradition! Love the memories it brings back for you and think your clever use of peppers instead of pimentos absolutely makes this sandwich unusual.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You have elevated both a pimento cheese and a BLT sandwich. Perfect. Great photos also.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I hate to admit it, but I never tasted pimento cheese, Sam. I must try making it one day as it does seem to be a very popular condiment. Your sanddwich looks mouthwatering good!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love pimento cheese and have those same childhood memories.I'll have to try the roasted red peppers.

    Pimento cheese BLT looks delicious. I will be giving that a try too.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I had never heard of pimento cheese until I read some southern blogs :) I love your version with the roasted peppers and jalapeno or Tabasco! I'll have to give this southern tradition a try - especially with a BLT, it must be delicious. What a great memory of helping in the kitchen with your mother.

    ReplyDelete
  26. wow this looks so good genius combo when we first moved here we thought pimento cheese was Mexican ha

    ReplyDelete
  27. oh goodness! The red pepper substitution sounds perfect! I've never made my own mayo, but I've been thinking of trying it out. I'll have to head over to your recipe for that.
    Thank you for sharing this on Foodie Friday.

    ReplyDelete
  28. The best looking pimento cheese in the South--or anywhere. A wonderful post in so many ways.

    ReplyDelete
  29. How yummy! The simplest recipes are always the best!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Sam - That is one awesome looking sandwich. Bev makes very good P.C. and we grill them on occasion.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Now, my dear, that is a sandwich worthy of the name. It looks divine, Sam. I've been inspired! Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

    ReplyDelete
  32. It looks delicious Sam..and I like your pimentop chesese wjhoich will be great as an apero with many other things!
    Ronelle

    ReplyDelete
  33. It seems that whatever you prepare...a salad, a sandwich or a full meal, I love it all. I have had a craving for pimento cheese all this week. Your sandwich with the bacon and tomato takes it over the top. :)

    ReplyDelete
  34. OMG now you've struck a chord...we are indeed kindred spirits! I may not be Southern but Pimento Cheese has been a favorite for a long time. Now that I live in Georgia there is some always in the fridge. You are so right about the ingredients. The combination of white and yellow cheddar is a MUST, cheese grated by hand another and of course the mayo. I use Hellman's or Duke's but I will try that recipe. Homemade mayonnaise is a must for Southern food. As to the pimentos, like you I buy the ones in the jar, more flavor. I have seen this idea before and been meaning to try it. Now it's going to be today's lunch. I have everything!

    As you know pimento cheese is great also on top of a hamburger. Talk about a great cheeseburger! with lettuce and tomato. (don't get me going....)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Found you at StoneGable, and this looks fabulous!! We have a local sandwich bar in the back of an antique shop here in the south that makes a home made pimento and cheese BLT that is to die for! She actually uses fried green tomatoes on hers instead of sliced red tomatoes. I am going to check out your home made mayo.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Yes Yes Yes on the roasted red pepper! That is the only way we do it anymore and I especially like your idea on adding hot sauce! Great idea.

    ReplyDelete

I enjoy reading each and every comment. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam