There are many variations for this retro cheese spread from the South—it is very easy to prepare and tasty. You can prepare it quickly when guests drop in and it keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Traditionally, the cheese was ground through a meat grinder—it can be made in a bowl with a fork—and a food processor makes it in a snap. Using the lesser amount of horseradish, combine all ingredients until blended, leaving some texture so that it isn’t totally smooth. Taste for seasoning and add a bit more horseradish, mustard or cayenne, if desired.
Pimento cheese can be served with crackers or stuffed into celery. You also can spread on sandwich bread, brush the outside of sandwiches with melted butter and cook on a griddle until golden, as pictured. MAKES 1 1⁄2 TO 2 cups
• 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh-grated or prepared horseradish
• 12-ounce package sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1 (4-ounce) jar chopped pimentos, drained
• 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
• 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard (optional)
• Freshly ground pepper
• Pinch ground red pepper
• 1 large clove finely minced or pressed garlic (optional)
1. Combine ingredients; cover and chill.
VARIATIONS: You can add chopped onion, sweet pickles, sliced olives, mustard or Worcestershire sauce.
Susan Belsinger is a long-time herbal enthusiast who wrote Dill, Herb of the Year 2010 for the International Herb Association.
To read more, see the International Herb Association’s book, Horseradish, Herb of the Year 2011, edited by Susan Belsinger. To purchase, visit www.iherb.org or write to Marge Powell at the International Herb Association, P.O. Box 5667, Jacksonville, FL 32247-5667.
Click here the main article, 2011 Herb of the Year: Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana).