Pimento Cheese

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Throughout the southland, there are nearly as many recipes for pimento cheese as there are cooks. Some are bland, some are zesty; some are creamy, some chunky; some are simple, some complicated. While it may have begun as a pleasant hostess dish, pimento cheese today is also a star player in grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese omelets, and cheeseburgers. Our recipe comes from Philip Bardin, chef at the erstwhile Old Post Office restaurant on Edisto Island, South Carolina.

1 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, grated
1/4 pound cream cheese, cut into the smallest cubes possible
1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
6 cornichons, minced
6 large stuffed Spanish olives, minced
1 roasted red pepper, cubed (you can use canned diced pimiento)
1 tablespoon Hellmanns mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 dash cayenne pepper

In a mixing bowl, fold all ingredients together (do not overmix) and refrigerate until ready to use. As hors d’oeuvre or in a non-grilled sandwich, take it out of the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving.

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