Last summer I spent some time in the deep south, Atlanta. I make it there at least once per year to visit family. While a lot of people would say that Atlanta is a metropolitan city and not the south, there is still a whole lot of southern in that very large city. There is a lot to like about that, but unfortunately still a lot to dislike.
The good is what I saw as a revitalization of pimiento cheese. It was on the menu at just about every place I went. I hadn’t had real pimiento cheese in what seemed like decades. I got a little obsessed. I would order something I saw on the menu just because it had pimiento cheese on it. Hamburgers, hot dogs, as a dip appetizer, anything I saw. I must have had a pound of pimiento cheese that week. My obsession with pimiento cheese was reignited.
After getting back to San Francisco I started experimenting with making my own pimiento cheese. I tried a few recipes, nothing was exactly right or at least to my tastes. I finally settled on the following recipe for “pimiento” cheese after a couple dozen test batches. Pimiento is in quotes because I quickly discovered that jars of pimiento are expensive outside the south and really are almost tasteless. I think they are in the cheese just for a bit of color. One other change I made was to substitute Greek yogurt for the typical ingredient of mayonnaise. I’m not a fan of mayo and never seem to have it around anyway.
The truth is that this kind of cheese spread can adapt to just about any tastes. It works with adding bacon, diced jalapeños, favorite spices, use any kind of cheese to replace the cheddar. It’s really flexible and honestly more of a fromage fort recipe now than a pimiento cheese.