Friday, June 11, 2010

A Southern Favorite

Lately, my social calendar has been booked with engagement parties and bridal/baby showers. I've co-hosted several of these affairs, most recently a shower for my dear, very pregnant friend, Audrey. To avoid the often ridiculous price tag that comes with the luxury of hiring a caterer, we tackled the cooking ourselves. Each hostess volunteered to bring a dish for brunch, and I chose pimiento cheese sandwiches. I'd actually never made pimiento cheese before, so I turned to an expert: my friend, Samma.

Kinger and I met Samma Faye while we were all students at UGA. She hails from "East Tennesee" (as she likes to say) and can whip up Southern food like nobody's business. Samma has a fantastic blog called Spice and Sass, where she posts whatever's on her mind at any given moment - this occasionally includes her favorite recipes.

The ingredients for pimiento cheese are minimal and super cheap (less than $10 if you have mayo and your favorite hot sauce on hand), BUT Samma has a couple of hard and fast rules about making it from scratch, and I was sure to follow all of them.

1. You must grate the cheese by hand if you want the mixture to "clump" properly. Do not use pre-shredded cheese and do not use a food processor to do your dirty work.

2. Samma insists that you must use a fork to mash the pimientos after you drain them. Apparently, this step is of the upmost importance. Samma's isn't quite sure why, but the act of mashing this key ingredient affects both the flavor and consistency of your pimiento cheese.

3. Acknowledging that this rule is the hardest to follow, Samma says that you should let your pimiento cheese chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving/eating. You have to allow time for the flavors to combine and meld together.

Thanks to Samma, my pimiento cheese was a hit at the shower, and Audrey (along with many others) asked for the recipe. We love you, Samma Faye!

Samma Faye's Southern Pimiento Cheese


1 block extra sharp yellow cheddar cheese, grated by hand
1 block extra sharp white cheddar cheese, grated by hand
1 can pimiento peppers, drained
Half block of cream cheese at room temperature, cut into chunks
3 tbsp. mayonnaise (like Samma, we prefer Duke's mayo)
1 fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 or 3 shakes hot sauce
2 or 3 shakes cayenne pepper


Place freshly grated yellow and white cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Drain canned pimientos, mash them with a fork and chop them up a bit. Add pimientos and remaining ingredients to bowl and mix well, being careful to integrate the cream cheese. If the mixture seems dry, add more mayonnaise to taste. Chill in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Serve on sandwiches or with crackers or celery.


  1. I'm anti-mayo so I usually use fat-free sour cream instead. I can't wait to try your recipe.

  2. Can I get an "amen" up in here??? AMEN!!!!!!!

  3. Hahahaha- love this post y'all! And I am craving some pimenter cheese like all hell now! (Which is sad b/c I had a pimento cheese BLT for lunch- it was not up to snuff though).

  4. Definitely going to make this, and definitely going with Dukes!

  5. I'm recently obsessed with pimento cheese - AH-MAZING timing on this post, AF!

  6. I want some pimento cheese now! Maybe I'll have Casey make me some. Thanks for the recipe!