We're no strangers to a good grilled cheese sandwich. From a bagel grilled cheese to one filled with ricotta and berries, we've seen, and happily eaten, it all. But when Sam Talbot opened Pretty Southern in Brooklyn, we fell hard for another grilled cheese. Homemade pimento cheese is stuffed between focaccia (they call their thin version "magic bread") with tomatoes and pickled jalapeños for a spicy and cheesy sandwich that's beyond addictive.
We love this pimento cheese on its own, too, so feel free to make a few grilled cheeses and put out the rest with some crudités and crackers. But if you've never experienced this Southern staple warmed between two pieces of bread, brace yourself.
To learn more, read "Spread the Love."
Pimento Grilled Cheese
Recipe adapted from Sam Talbot, Pretty Southern, Brooklyn, NY
Yield: 4 sandwiches
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
For the Pimento Cheese:
4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, coarsely grated
4 ounces white cheddar, coarsely grated
1 cup drained pimento or roasted red peppers, finely chopped
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1½ tablespoons dried parsley
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ tablespoon lemon juice
¼ yellow onion, finely grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the Pimento Grilled Cheese:
Four 6-inch focaccia rolls, halved
20 pickled jalapeño slices
2 vine-ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 stick unsalted butter, divided
1. Make the pimento cheese: In a large bowl, stir all of the pimento cheese ingredients until smooth.
2. Make the grilled cheese: Preheat the oven to 400° and place a wire rack on a sheet pan. Lay out the bottoms of the focaccia rolls on a cutting board and top each with 5 pickled jalapeño slices. Divide the tomato slices among the bottoms, followed by the pimento cheese, then add the tops of the focaccia rolls, and press to close.
3. In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Place 2 of the sandwiches in the pan and place a heavy pan on top to weigh them down. Cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the sandwiches, add 2 more tablespoons of butter and cook, replacing the pan on top, until the other sides are golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the sandwiches to the prepared sheet pan and repeat this process with the remaining sandwiches and butter.
4. Bake the sandwiches in the oven until the cheese is completely melted, 5 minutes, then cut each in half and serve.