Pimento Cheese with Piquillo Pepper Sauce

Pimento Cheese

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Yield: 6 to 8 servings

I have an addiction to pimento cheese…part of it stems from the fact that I’ve always wanted to be a southerner and the other from the fact that I love mayonnaise and cheese.  Throw some mascarpone in this one and leave me in peace.  If a menu has pimento cheese on it, I’m all over it like…well, me on pimento cheese.  This is my favorite way to make it and it’s super simple, a little spicy and oh so cheesy.  For those that have never experienced this, it is not spicy unless you choose to make it so because pimento peppers are very mild (or you can substitute with roasted red peppers if you can’t find pimentos).  Add this to a grilled cheese, put on top of a burger, add to pasta for some delicious mac and cheese, stuff inside jalapeno peppers or throw it in some creamy grits (all of these are probable forthcoming recipes).

 

1/2 cup mascarpone, at room temperature

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup diced pimentos

3/4 teaspoon smoked hot paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 to 2 teaspoons Sriracha, or to taste

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

6 ounces coarsely shredded sharp white cheddar

6 ounces coarsely shredded sharp yellow cheddar

1/4 cup Parmesan

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced

2 tablespoons chives, minced

PIQUILLO PEPPER SAUCE:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small shallot, minced

1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

One 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers (will yield about 1 cup)

One can of tomatoes (you can use either whole peeled or crushed, you will need about 1 cup)

1 tablespoon crème fraiche

Salt and pepper, to taste

 

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the mascarpone, mayonnaise, Sriracha, Dijon mustard, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper, until well combined.  Add the cheeses, diced peppers, parsley and chives to the bowl and mix with a spatula until well combined.  Taste for seasoning and adjust, if necessary.  Transfer the cheese to a container and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to combine.

 

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a saucepan or small Dutch oven.  Add the minced shallot and sprinkle with salt; sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until softened and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.  Add the peppers, tomatoes and shallot-onion mixture to a blender and blend until completely smooth, approximately 30 seconds.  Return the mixture to the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly reduced and heated through.  Add the crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Make sure you taste your sauce throughout the cooking process and adjust the seasonings.  Allow to cool to room temperature before serving.  When ready to serve, in a shallow bowl, pour the piquillo pepper sauce and place a large scoop of pimiento cheese in the center.

 

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[…] will want to make a big batch of pimento cheese to A) make this sandwich and B) just to have around to eat out of the bowl (did I really even need […]

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