It may be simple in preparation and appearance, but pimento cheese is famously bold in flavor. Chef Britt Cloud of Sprig in Decatur, Georgia, keeps this Southern staple classic, incorporating both sharp and white cheddar for a contrast and a dash of fresh lemon juice to keep the spread fresh. At the restaurant, where many of the dishes are cooked on a wood-burning grill, Cloud smokes the peppers with hickory before incorporating them into the dip. At home, we do without the smoke and create a simple spread that's ideal for serving with crackers and crudités or slicking on sandwiches.
Recipe adapted from Britt Cloud, Sprig, Decatur, GA
Yield: 2 cups
Cook Time: 5 minutes
¼ cup jarred pimento peppers, finely chopped
2 cups shredded aged sharp cheddar, at room temperature
½ cup shredded Vermont white cheddar, at room temperature
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
Juice of half a medium lemon
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium bowl, combine the peppers, sharp cheddar, white cheddar, cayenne pepper, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Adjust the seasonings to taste. Serve at room temperature.