Monday, March 26, 2018

Magazine Monday #13: Pimento Grilled Cheese

I did something the other day I've never done in my life, something I swore I'd never do.

I bought olives at the grocery store.

Olives are the bane of my existence.  I hate green olives, I hate black olives, and I resent that space is taken up in grocery stores for these so-called Olive Bars, when you could just put a respectable salad bar there instead.

I've hated olives since I was a kid.  The paternal side of my family would have two dishes of olives out at every family gathering -- one dish of green and one dish of black.  I let them pass by me on their way around the table, and every time, someone would ask, "Sarah, don't you want any olives?"

Because they are the grossest food on the planet.  Olives are the worst.

(Side note, actually:  When we got our second cat, I asked my step-kid, Kelly, what we should name him.  Since he's a black cat, Kelly suggested Olive.  I hate olives so much, I could never name an animal after them, but Kelly's suggestion gave birth to the cat's actual name, which is Oliver.  I was going for a literary theme with my cats' names, and that worked out beautifully.)

But I bought this jar of olives because I was planning to make pimento cheese (actually, the real spelling is pimiento, which blew my mind, but I'm going to keep spelling it the way I always have, and the way a lot of people do.)  I went to three different stores looking for pimentos and came up with nothing.  Then I had the bright idea to just buy olives stuffed with pimentos, remove said pimentos, discard the olives, and go on my merry way.  I suspected this might not be the best plan, but I was running out of options.

I told Dennis my genius plan.  To say he looked skeptical would be the understatement of the century.

"It's going to taste like olives.  You hate olives," he said.

"No," I insisted.  "I'm going to rinse them really well, and they'll be fine.  I have to make this recipe today, and that's what I came up with."

Without a word, Dennis popped open the jar of olives, extracted the pimento from one of them, ran cold water over it for about 30 seconds, then handed it to me. 

I put it in my mouth, then promptly gagged and spit it out.

"That might not work," I said.

Dennis nodded.

I gagged some more.

I realized I hadn't checked Sprouts, and that seemed like a place that might have pimentos, so we ran down there, and Dennis bought me a jar of non-olive-flavored pimentos, and saved the day.  (Again...and again.)

Pimento cheese is a very Southern thing, and making it into a grilled cheese sandwich is something that wouldn't have occurred to me, but that I am very happy with.  And unless you like olives (but, like, why?), hold out for a jar of pimentos on their own.  Virgin pimentos, if you will.

(Oh, and this recipe is good.  Like, really really good.  I don't know why people buy pimento cheese.  Even if you don't think you'll like it, you will.  The photos are ugly, but the sandwich is excellent.)

Pimento Grilled Cheese
Makes 4 sandwiches
From Cuisine at Home Magazine, June 2017


2 cups shredded extra-sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
6 oz. cream cheese, cubed and softened
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 4 oz. jar sliced pimentos, drained
Salt to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
8 slices bread
4 tbsp butter, softened

Puree cheese, cream cheese, and mayo in a food processor.  Pulse in pimentos until coarse.  Season with salt and cayenne.

Brush one side of the bread slices with butter, then place on a cutting board, buttered side down.  Spread 1/3 cup pimento cheese on half of the slices.  Top with remaining slices, buttered side up.

Fry sandwiches in a nonstick skillet over medium heat until golden brown on both sides.  

Remove from heat and let rest for 2 minutes before cutting in half.

Enjoy remaining cheese on crackers.  Or more sandwiches.

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