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DIY Pimento Cheese: Chef Sean Brock’s Essential Party Snack

DIY Pimento Cheese: Chef Sean Brock’s Essential Party Snack: Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edward.

Excerpted from Heritage by Sean Brock (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Peter Frank Edward.

Throwing a Super Bowl party? As a favor to your guests who want to eat more than delivery pizza, we’ve tracked down some of the best chefs in America and asked them to spill their favorite crowd-pleasing, game day recipes. Everything is delicious, simple to prepare, and pairs great with a beer.


Chef Sean Brock, owner of the HUSK restaurants in Charleston and Nashville, says Southerners don’t mess around when it comes to pimento cheese. “I’ve seen people almost get into fistfights over who has a better pimento cheese recipe,” he says. “We slather the stuff on everything from celery stalks to saltine crackers, and some people won’t even consider eating a hamburger without a half-inch layer of pimento cheese in the stack.” He makes the party-favorite “pâté de Sud” with lots of hot sauce and pickles.

PIMENTO CHEESE
Excerpted from Heritage

Makes 2½ to 3 cups

INGREDIENTS:
3 large pimento peppers (or 12 oz. jarred whole pimentos, drained and diced)
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup mayonnaise, preferably Duke’s
½ tsp. hot sauce
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. sugar
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
⅛ tsp. freshly ground white pepper
⅛ tsp. smoked paprika
¼ cup pickled ramps (leeks), chopped, plus ½ cup of the brine
1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater

THE METHOD:

  1. Roast the peppers over an open flame on a gas stovetop, one pepper at a time, on the prongs of a carving fork. Or place on a baking sheet and roast under a hot broiler. In either case, turn the peppers to blister all sides. Then transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to let the peppers steam until cool enough to handle.
  2. Carefully peel the blackened skin off each pepper. Cut the peppers lengthwise in half, open out flat on a cutting board, and carefully scrape away all the seeds and membrane. Dice the peppers.
  3. Put the cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until softened. Add the mayonnaise and mix well. Add the hot sauce, salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, white pepper, and smoked paprika and stir to blend. Add the ramps, ramp brine, and cheddar cheese and stir again. Fold in the diced pimentos.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Tightly covered, the pimento cheese will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Note: For creamer pimento cheese, combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.


Alyson Sheppard is the resident hangover specialist at Playboy.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amshep

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