Saturday, May 25, 2013

I'm Sorry, You're Putting WHAT In Your Pimento Cheese?

A Base for Pimento Cheese?
Around the South, you hear lots of debate over what kind of mayo should be used to make pimento cheese. Some people are loyal to Hellman's, while others insist on homemade mayonnaise. And then there are those who are right and use Duke's.

Apparently there are people in Boston, though, who  don't have much respect for mayo and instead are making pimento cheese out of . . . wait for it . . . plain yogurt.

That, at least, is what the folks at the Boston Globe are recommending in their "Recipe for Southern pimento cheese."

Sounds like a recipe for an argument to me.

Of course, if you look back at the long history of pimento cheese, perhaps using a little yogurt isn't so much of departure. The original version consisted of just plain cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese with minced pimentos mixed in it--no mayo, no cheddar, no lemon juice or cayenne pepper or other secret ingredients. (You can find the full, somewhat scandalous history of pimento cheese in my collection Going Lardcore: Adventures in New Southern Dining.)

The yogurt, the Globe's recipe writer suggests, is "lighter" and "tangier". Turns out that they're not alone. A Google search reveals any number of "guilt-free pimento cheese" recipes that substitute plain yogurt (often Green yogurt) for good old mayo.

I don't know. Something tells me that if I served my guests pimento cheese made with yogurt, I would have plenty to feel guilty about.

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