Ask most folks in the Deep South about pimiento cheese and they'll tell you about grandma's secret family recipe. A cool mixture of shredded cheddar cheese, mayo and diced pimientos is as common as peanut butter in the Deep South for sandwiches, snacks and veggies. That's why pimiento cheese is the featured recipe of May's National Pimiento Month.
Although most of the nation's pimientos are grown in California, the pepper is revered in the south. A traditional Southern favorite tosses them in with mayonnaise, a dash of hot sauce, some milk and shredded cheddar cheese to make a versatile pimiento cheese.
More than 42% of pimiento cheese is consumed in the Southeast according to IRI statistics. More than 25% is eaten in the Carolinas. Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte, North Carolinians alone consume nearly 17% of pimiento cheese in the nation. Birmingham, Ala., Atlanta, Ga., Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville, Tenn., are also known for pimiento cheese recipes that adorn everything from crackers to cheeseburgers.
Elvis demanded pimiento cheese as his favorite topping on hamburgers. The venerable pimiento cheese sandwich is a staple of the April golf classic at Augusta. It's made with love by millions of southern families during the hot months of summer as the coolest sandwich and snack spread.
Because of its rich flavor, ease of preparation (three basic ingredients takes about two minutes to prepare) and versatility as a sandwich, cracker or veggie topping, pimiento cheese is a natural for today's busy families.
Begun in 2002 by California's Governor to honor pimiento growers in his state, National Pimiento Month celebrates the nutritious little cousin of the bell pepper best known for the red dot in the center of most stuffed olives.
Pimientos aren't just for olives or pimiento cheese. They are an essential for adding color to potato salad, green bean casseroles, tacos, salads and a lot more. Pick up some pimientos on your next trip to the supermarket and help celebrate National Pimiento Month with one, or all of these quick and easy recipes:
Yield: 2-1/2 cups.
Yield: 12 servings.
Yield: 6 servings.