One of my brothers, who lives in Los Angeles, recently asked me for the recipe for Pimento Cheese (if you are Southern: yes, it is capitalized), which reminded me that it has been a long time since I'd tasted any. It's not available in local restaurants, here in Chicago (correct me if I'm wrong). And I imagine the same is true for this brother; if there were someplace he could pick up a tub of it, he'd do that.
Hominy Grill Pimento Cheese
Makes 4 generous cups
6 cups cheddar cheese, grated (1 1/2 lbs)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, crated
1/2 cup jarred pimentos, rinsed and chopped fine
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/3 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine the pimentos, mayonnaise, bourbon and seasonings in a large mixing bowl. Work the grated cheeses into the mix until thoroughly combined.
Emily’s Pimento Cheese
Makes much more than you should consume in one sitting
1 giant (1 lb) block cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise (more if necessary; it’s just to bind)
1 jar (4 oz) pimentos, drained, juice reserved, and finely chopped
lots of black pepper (probably no more than 1/2 teaspoon)
Tabasco sauce, a few shakes
Combine the cheese, mayo, pimentos, some of their juice, pepper, and Tabasco. Adjust seasoning to taste. I usually use about half the pimento juice from the jar. It’s not much. And I probably use more than a half cup of mayo. You don’t want it to be too wet or too dry. It helps to let this sit for a while so the flavors can blossom, before eating. Again: you can eat it on saltines or on toast with more mayo. Some people eat it on celery, but I can’t dope that out. And remember: “It’s a spread not a dip,” and tell that to yankee lady who insists on calling it “this marvelous dip,” with wonderment, as if she’s never heard of pimento cheese. If you put to much pepper in it, it will keep you awake at night.
- Saute onion in a large heavy pot over medium heat, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add asparagus pieces and saute, stirring, until they turn bright green. Add tarragon (optional). Add vegetable broth or water, bring to a boil; lower heat to simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
- Once the mixture has cooled slightly, puree in blender in small batches, being careful not to burn yourself; don't fill the blender, and use a potholder to hold down the lid! Return to pan, add cream, yogurt, lemon juice, salt, pepper and cayenne. Cook slowly over low heat, until heated through. Taste for salt and pepper.