A child of the Deep South, I grew up eating a lot of pimento cheese. No one in our clan would touch the store-bought stuff, packaged in a small jar that became a juice glass once the pimento cheese was gone. It didn’t even need to be refrigerated.
We made our own. Back then there wasn’t sharp cheddar, much less extra-sharp, seriously-sharp, aged, or private stock. We just used local “hoop” cheese, similar to mild cheddar and then squirted in a little lemon juice to tart it up.
Now we’ve got all of the above. I don’t need fancy sharp cheddar for my pimento cheese, but I like to “tart” mine up with those Spanish olives pimentos so frequently stuff, a la the cream cheese and olives my Aunt Dot used to (and still does) bring to holiday gatherings.
This more piquant iteration makes a more interesting sandwich–try it in a grilled cheese, for a change. If you like it, as I do, on saltine crackers, invest in a box with the unsalted tops. Between the salty cheese and briny olives, you don’t need a salty cracker!
Pimento Cheese with Spanish Olives
Makes 3 cups
If serving with crackers make sure to buy unsalted ones.
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup coarsely chopped pimento stuffed olives
3/4 cup light or regular mayonnaise
3/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Enjoy!