A southern classic, Nana’s Pimento Cheese has one surprise ingredient, but I’ve added another one to make this spread even more tasty.
Imagine this, you’re sitting on the bank of a river or a lake. It’s about lunch time. Your dad hands you a baggie with a sandwich in it. You’re looking so forward to lunch that you’ve been thinking about it since you made it at 6 in the morning that Saturday.
What’s in that baggie? It’s Nana’s pimento cheese. It was the highlight of fishing with Dad and Nana. I mean, besides the fun cans of beanie weenie, which were my second favorite fishing lunch. Yeah yeah yeah. We used to catch fish and that was fun, too. But, honestly, the highlight of the trip was her pimento cheese ‘wiches.
Dad was kind of like an only child. His brother was 15 years older than he was and his sister was 7 or 8 years older than he was. I can’t remember exactly how many years older my aunt was, but each of them were kind of like only children due to the considerable span of time between each child. And with Dad being the baby of the family, I’m sure he probably was spoiled, though he wouldn’t admit it.
He would admit to spending time in the kitchen with his mother learning how to cook. I am so lucky that he did. Not that Mom is a bad cook, but with the exception of a few dishes, I always saw Mom she as more the baker of the family. She can cook, but usually from a recipe. Dad could go into the kitchen and just put stuff together to make a meal. He still does that, to this day.
I’m treading such fragile ground here.
Both of my parents are amazing in the kitchen and I’ve learned so much from both of them, but Dad was always the one that was creative in the kitchen for dinner. The only thing I think he baked was a quiche. Yup. Dad made quiche. I’m sure he didn’t learn that from Nana, but it’s darned good quiche that was always had for Christmas.
I learned how to make some of the most basic southern foods from him and I know he learned those dishes from his mother or grandmother. Biscuits and gravy? Dad. Cornbread and bean soup? Dad. Potato pancakes? Dad. Country ham, scrapple, and grits? Dad. Pierogies? Mom. I had to give kuddos. She did cabbage rolls and always made the stuffing for the holidays.
Like I said…fragile ground.
But this post is about Dad’s faves. Since he was raised in the south, most of his faves are southern. He LOVED scrapple for breakfast. Biscuits and gravy were had often in the house. Granted, they were not always homemade biscuits, but that’s better than no biscuits. Chicken and dumplings was always a favorite meal, too. And our fried chicken? Always in a cast iron skillet. And double coated. And so good. Especially when it was served with fried okra. Mmmmm okra.
Now, whenever I think of Dad, I think of all the times we spent fishing when I was growing up. We would hit the road before the sun came up, stopped for some worms and minnows, and then hit the water. Sometimes we’d catch fish to eat, and sometimes we didn’t. But we always had a great time spending time together in that little row boat with 5 or 6 lines in the water just waiting for that bite.
When it was in the heat of the day we’d unpack lunch and have a bite of our own. He would always give me a hard time because I wanted to wash my hands before we ate lunch. Yeah. I hear ya! “Who wouldn’t???” But, you have to understand Dad. If he teased you that meant he loved you. So it was his way of saying he loved me.
If we planned well enough, there were pimento cheese sandwiches for lunch. If Nana was on the fishing trip with us, there were ALWAYS pimento cheese sandwiches. And they were so creamy, cheesy, good and perfectly American on white bread. You can’t get more summer than that! Pimento cheese sandwiches while fishing. If we just had a slice of apple pie…
Nana’s pimento cheese has one ingredient that isn’t in your typical pimento cheese spread. Nana always added a few chopped, green olives. I love the flavor the green olives added to her pimento cheese. They add a saltiness that compliments the sweet of pimentos that you just don’t expect. I also took that tip and usually add a handful to my macaroni and potato salads. So good.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Nana’s recipe, but I added my own surprise ingredient. I added just a bit of Cabot horseradish cheddar. It’s a mere one ounce to the cheese mixture, but it’s just enough to catch that little hint of something different in this pimento cheese spread. Yes. I know. This says “Nana’s Pimento Cheese,” but I couldn’t resist. It was screaming “eat me” in the fridge, so I had to oblige and add one ounce to the recipe.
I warn you. This pimento cheese spread is addictive. It has so much more flavor and texture than those containers in the deli section of the grocery. And it’s so super simple to make. I mean, if you have a food processor with a shredder attachment, it literally takes minutes – MINUTES – to make this delicious spread. Need a quick after school snack? Surprise guests on their way? Just want a little nosh of something? Make a batch of this pimento cheese spread and all your nibble problems are solved.
Did you have pimento cheese sandwiches when you went fishing? Or at your family picnic? What’s your favorite pimento cheese recipe?
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 ounces velveeta
- 1 ounce horseradish cheddar
- 4 ounces pimentos, drained
- 1/8 cup chopped green olives
- 1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- Grate the cheeses and place in a mixing bowl.
- Drain the pimentos and, using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the pimentos to remove extra moisture.
- Add the pimentos and the olives to the cheese and stir to combine.
- Spoon 1/4 cup of mayonnaise into the cheese mixture and stir to combine. If the mixture is not creamy enough to your liking, add additional mayonnaise until the desired consistency is reached.
- Serve as sandwiches, stuffed into mini bell peppers, or simply with some crackers for a delicious snack.