04 February 2007
It will be no surprise to anyone who knows me when I say that I’ don’t really get American football. My ideal football experience involves a bunch of people sitting around, watching the game, while I’m in the next room happily doing something else. Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the sound of the game coming from the next room, it’s somehow comforting, and popping in every once in a while to see what the score is. However, if it weren’t for numerous reminders, I wouldn’t even know when the superbowl was.
But since when did the superbowl become a food event? It seems every time I headed over to any recipe website this past week, hoping to scrounge up something good for dinner, I was bombarded with “superbowl food.” Everywhere I turned, magazine covers advertised ‘what to serve for the big game.’ Wings with blue cheese dip, guacamole, salsas, bowls of chili.
I have to admit most of these foods have never met the insides of my kitchen, but it did get me thinking about classic dips and spreads, which lead me to that staple of my Tennessee family, pimento cheese. Pimento cheese, classic spread of the South, a combination of cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and those little roasted red pepper bits known as pimentos. If you (like me), find pimento cheese a bit cold and mayonnaise-y, I urge you to try it as filling in your next grilled cheese. Everything melts into a gloriously creamy interior between the toasted bread, and that’s before you even encounter the bacon. Grilled bacon-pimento cheese sandwiches, the outsides crispy with bacon fat, are quite the indulgence. Or, they’re just right for game day.
Grilled Bacon-Pimento Cheese Sandwiches
Gooey, crispy, somewhat excessive. Serve in small wedges with a cup of tomato soup.
for the pimento cheese:
1 lb cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 small jar pimentos, or 1/2 cup diced roasted red peppers
tabasco sauce, to taste
for the sandwiches:
bacon slices, preferably thick, center-cut
Make the pimento cheese:
- Stir all ingredients together, refreigerate a few hours.
For the sandwiches:
- Fry the bacon in a large skillet until crisp and brown, set aside bacon on paper towels. If there is excess fat in the skillet, drain some of it off and set it aside, leave some fat in the skillet. Assemble the sandwiches: Spread pimento cheese on one slice of bread, top with a few bacon strips, top with the other slice of bread. Heat the skillet and fry the sandwiches until golden and crispy on both sides and the cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining sandwiches, using reserved fat if necessary.
Pimento cheese can also be served chilled, on crackers or celery sticks.