So. Darn. Fickle.
I don't even know what to do with myself.
You might think that someone with ridiculously transient tastebuds might avoid making and publishing definitive statements about food, but no... Instead, I continue telling you how much I dislike or adore certain fruits, vegetables, or dishes, only to turn around months later with an entirely changed perspective.
I would apologize, but all of this changeability opens doors that lead to so many wonderful obsessions.
Up until about two years ago I would have been able to look you in the eye and firmly declare my hatred for pimento cheese. But, then I ate a burger with fried green tomatoes and a huge amount of melty, pimento-studded cheese and, well, even my stubbornness cannot stand up to such magic.
It was then that I began to like pimento cheese, but these days, I cannot get it out of my head. My on-going list of recipe ideas is simply seeping with this delicacy that I am told is known as "the caviar of the south."
If you think you do not like pimento cheese, this dish is the perfect way to give it a fair chance. I attribute my own long-lasting distaste to the fact that I had only ever experienced pimento cheese in its grocery store form and that I had only known it to be served cold. These are the bullets we must dodge if we are seeking pimento cheese triumph.
Making your own pimento cheese is so simple, and this southern classic takes on an entirely new personality when it meets with your oven.
Right now, the days are so hot and snack dinners are sounding better and better. A glass of something sparkling, a bowl of ripe berries, a crispy baguette, and a very generous serving of this warm, slightly tangy, spreadable taste of the south - this is everything I want from summer.
You know how much I love dips and basically anything I can spread atop crostini, but I especially love the fact that I can make this dip in advance and pop it into the oven just before I want to serve it. You can even heat it up one serving at a time if you are solo-snacking!
Grab a book, pour yourself a glass of this basil lemonade, and never ever apologize for eating the whole baguette alone.
Happy, happy summer to you!
Baked Pimento Cheese
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 4 ounces monterey jack, freshly grated
- 10 ounces sharp cheddar, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire
- 1 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- crostini or crackers for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place cream cheese in a medium mixing bowl, and use an electric mixer to beat on medium speed until fluffy; about 1 minute. Mix in grated cheeses, mayonnaise, worcestershire, pimentos, garlic powder, onion powder, sea salt, and pepper. Beat on low speed until all ingredients are well combined.
Transfer the mixture to an oven-safe 8-inch baking dish.
Cook’s Note: At this point you can cover the mixture and refrigerate until ready to bake and serve. You may make the mixture up to 24 hours in advance.
Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling. Serve hot with crostini or crackers. Enjoy!
*For Crostini: Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set your oven to the broiler setting. Slicing at an angle, cut a large ciabatta or baguette into 1/2-inch slices. Lay the slices out on the prepared baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Broiler for 2-4 minutes, until crisp and golden.