Also Known as
The Pimento is a variety of large, red, heart-shaped chili pepper that measures 3 to 4 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide (medium, elongate). The flesh of the sweet pimento is sweet, succulent and more aromatic than that of the red bell pepper. Because the pimento berry has the flavor and aroma characteristic of cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper, all combined in one spice it is called allspice. Pimento is used in sauces, pickling, commercial sausage preparations, and curry powders. It is also used in many dishes, including cakes. It is used to flavor barbecue sauces.
Pimento cheese is one of those dishes that generates a great deal of debate and discussion on technique and variations. The core ingredients are grated cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, chopped pimento, mayonnaise and some simple seasoning, such as salt and pepper. Common variations on the recipe include the addition of onions, cream cheese, and garlic. The ingredients are mashed together with a fork and allowed to sit for a while in order for the flavors to mingle and develop. Some pimento cheese recipes are quite spicy, employing cayenne, jalapenos and hot sauce. Once you are confident working with the base recipe of cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos, you can successfully experiment with a wide range of ingredients for pimento cheese.
Pimento cheese is so ingrained in the lives of many Southerners that the stuff doesn't exist outside the region.
How to Select
Pimento cheese is sold in grocery stores, though most processed spreads don't really taste like pimento cheese Pimentos are available whole in jars, but they come chopped now. It's easier to buy them chopped. Otherwise, you need to chop them fine.
· Southerners love their pimento cheese. Often laid out as an appetizer at social gatherings, the tasty cheese mixture is easy to spread on crackers and in the curve of a celery stalk.
· Pimento cheese on white bread with the crusts cut off has been a staple of Southern tables for generations. It's simple, inexpensive and delicious
· These sweet pimento peppers are the familiar red stuffing found in prepared Spanish green olives.
· The pimento was originally cut into small pieces and hand stuffed into fresh green olives to compliment the strong flavor of the olive.
· For ease of production pimento is often pureed and formed with the help of a natural seaweed gum (sodium alginate) into strips. This allows the olive stuffing to be completed by a machine and increases the availability of the olives, by lowering their cost of production.
· A quick way to add life to baked potatoes and other veggies.
· Pimiento Liqueur is also offered at parties.
How to Store
Store it in an air tight jar and use it freshly within a week.
· Pimento is also a good home remedy for upset stomach in which case it is either chewed or crushed up and used to make tea.
· It is used in the preparation of beans not only because of its excellent flavor but because it is believed to reduce the flatulence caused by beans.
· Although not high in fats, moderation is always advised.