Growing up, I hated mayonnaise and I hated cheese. Weird for a child, yes, however the cheese-hatred had some basis: my dad hated it, so we by no manner had it within the house. And I turned so conditioned to hating cheese, it took me years (and a cheese-loving boyfriend) to get over it. As for the mayo, that grow to be entirely my enjoy factor: nothing repulsed me more. The gummy, gooey whiteness mortified me; nothing would possibly possibly possibly furthermore fracture a sandwich faster than spreading mayo on it first. I could possibly possibly furthermore abide it in coleslaw and tuna salad as a result of I didn’t survey it scramble in, but a turkey sandwich with gloppy mayo on high? To for the time being, I’d explain “no.” So take into consideration how repulsed I’d be if, as a wee lass, you’d provided me with a Southern delicacy identified as “pimento cheese”–cheddar cheese blended with mayo and chopped up pimentos. I would’ve, to consume an perfect verb from my childhood, hurled.
Lucky, then, that destiny introduced me to Atlanta, Georgia a few years within the past to chat over with extinct mates from faculty and law faculty. And it grow to be there on that scamper to Atlanta (survey post here) that I experienced the cooking of 1 in all Atlanta’s wide chefs, Scott Peacock, co-creator collectively with the story Edna Lewis of 1 in all my favorite cookbooks ever: “The Reward of Southern Cooking.” [To learn more about Scott Peacock & Edna Lewis, read this indispensable article about them by Kim Severson (I link to it all the time.)]
At Chef Peacock’s restaurant Watershed, I grow to be provided–for the first time–with pimento cheese; a dish that would furthermore’ve repulsed me in my childhood, but which without warning fascinated me:
Unusually, magically, all of these dreaded parts came collectively to model an spirited entire. The cheese grow to be spirited and pungent, the mayo grow to be creamy and lemony and the peppers added brightness and colour. On celery, it grow to be a dream of an appetizer–surprising, unhealthy, and never like something else I’d ever eaten. Which is why, when our mates Morgan and Phil had been coming over for dinner marvelous week, I knew precisely what to make for the begin of a Southern feast. Drawl it collectively with me: pimento cheese.
The job started with me doing something I’d by no manner executed before: making mayo from scratch.
Scott Peacock & Edna Lewis name, of their recipe, for cider vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, dry mustard, two egg yolks and–for the fat–pure vegetable oil or a delicate olive oil or a combo. I had some olive oil and some vegetable oil and a lot of canola oil so I made a combo of the first two and attach the canola oil apart.
Smartly, after whisking and whisking and slowly dripping the fat within the result grow to be oddly, uncomfortably bitter. I requested our friend Sharon, who grow to be over, to style it and he or she said: “It is bitter but I believed that’s what you had been going for.”
That’s not what I grow to be going for and so I deduced (by Twitter) that the olive oil grow to be rancid, so I started again the usage of lawful the canola oil. And this time? Success!
Glance at that creamy, dreamy concoction. Even the me of yesteryear would possibly possibly possibly need to dip my finger in to style. I concentrate on anyone who hates mayo need to gentle make it themselves; seeing how it works–how the oil emulsifies with the egg yolk and the lemon juice–makes the total difference. If I will, I’m going to make my enjoy mayo more ceaselessly (I worn it later for tuna salad and it grow to be out of the ordinary.)
Now, then, to make pimento cheese you lawful combine collectively quite of that mayo (3/4 a cup, actually), with grated extra-spirited cheddar cheese (Chef Peacock makes consume of a combination of white (for flavor) and orange (for colour), so I did too), a pinch of cayenne, salt, sad pepper, and finely chopped roasted purple bell peppers or pimentos (I got mine from a jar, which grow to be easy). Here it is, pre-assembly:
It’s the more or much less dish that need to gentle near with its enjoy treadmill, but let’s not wretchedness too critical about nutrition for the time being. Here it is device out for our guests, being snurfed by the cat:
It grow to be such a success that Phil and Morgan barely noticed the fried chicken and collard greens I served them afterwards (“It’s sexy, but it’s no pimento cheese.”)
[Just kidding about that; Morgan loved the fried chicken so much he said it was the best he ever had!]
Now, the next time you cook a Southern meal, you realize solutions to begin. Set some for later, though–leftover pimento cheese sandwiches would possibly possibly possibly well be the next night’s dinner:
from “The Reward of Southern Cooking” by Edna Lewis & Scott Peacock
First, make your enjoy mayo (it’s key).
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil or light olive oil, or a combination [I’d stick to vegetable or canola]
1 tablespoon hot water
Put the vinegar, lemon juice, salt, and mustard into a bowl, and shuffle or scramble till the salt and mustard are dissolved. Add the egg yolks, and beat till at ease. Add the oil tumble by tumble initially, after which in a unhurried, new circulation, whisking or stirring constantly till all of the oil has been integrated and also you would possibly possibly possibly furthermore possess gotten a actually thick emulsion. Dart within the unique water till at ease.
[Refrigerated, homemade mayo will keep for up to 1 week.]
Now for the pimento cheese, it couldn’t be more uncomplicated…
Mix collectively 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) grated extra-spirited cheddar cheese [try a combo of white and orange], 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to style), salt (to style, if wanted), 5 to 6 grinds of sad pepper, 3/4 cup of the the homemade Mayonnaise and 3 tablespoons finely chopped roasted purple bell pepper or pimento. Dart till it’s neatly blended and creamy, then style carefully for seasoning and regulate. Quilt and retailer, refrigerated, till willing to consume.