Friday, October 21, 2016

Mediterranean Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a southern specialty. A fairly simple combination of shredded cheese, mayo, and chopped pimento or roasted red pepper, it's great slathered on everything from crackers to burgers. Not being particularly southern, I am willing to take liberties with the recipe and make it my own.

We had a jar of fairly mild harissa paste in the fridge looking for things to do. I decided to employ it in a pimento cheese that could hail from a land in the vicinity of the southeastern Mediterranean sea. Most pimento cheeses use cheddar as a base, but I wanted something more neutral so the feta cheese could be prominent. The harissa stands in for the pimentos, but you could certainly add red pepper to your cheese if you choose. Don't forget to add the herbs, which add more character to the salty cheese.

I spread it on ciabatta and topped it with an over-easy egg, and it was mmm! Next I'll use it on a lamb burger with lots of red onion and fresh tomato.

Mediterranean Pimento Cheese

4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
2-3 teaspoons harissa paste (or to taste, depending on the strength of your harissa)
3 heaping tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1 teaspoon dill seeds, crushed

Combine all ingredients in a bowl until fairly homogenized in texture. There will still be small lumps of feta. Pack into a lidded container and refrigerate for several hours so the flavors can mellow. Serve with crackers or as a sandwich spread.

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