Monday, September 20, 2010

Deep Fried Pimento Cheese Balls

I love-love-love pimento cheese. I can't help it; I'm Southern, so along with biscuits and white gravy, fried pickles, and Moon Pies, pimento cheese is part of my DNA. I made a batch for a party last weekend, but the recipe makes so much that I had a lot leftover. What to do? Keep on eating pimento cheese, veggie bacon and avocado sandwiches for lunch each day? (Maybe. There's nothing wrong with that.) Or ... I could fry it.

Generally, I'm a bit appalled by some of the over-the-top fried, heart attack-inducing and artery clogging foods I see. Really, does a double bacon cheeseburger NEED to have the bun replaced by a glazed donut? Or does bacon even really need to be battered and fried and dipped in ranch, the universal dip for fried foods? Probably not, but I'm biased and so I decided pimento cheese needed to be fried. I experimented a bit with panko, as called for in the only similar recipe I could find on the internet. It didn't work out so hot, as that recipe didn't start with authentic pimento cheese itself, but a mixture egg whites. The balls just dissolved in the hot oil.

Take two, though, was a success! I know this has absolutely nothing to do with seitan and it probably has nothing redeeming about it as good food, but damn! I pulverized Morningstar veggie bacon strips and Cape Cod Sweet and Spicy JalapeƱo potato chips, then mixed in a little flour. The pimento cheese balls were dipped in egg, then rolled in the bacon-chip mixture. I froze them -a very key step- for about three hours before frying them in hot oil for about 30 seconds. I dislike ranch dressing (more for overexposure than for flavor), so I served these with blue cheese dressing, but that was unnecessary. These things were so amazingly delicious! So, next time you have a hankering for over-the-top Southern yumminess, whip up some pimento cheese and fry away!

Laura's Pimento Cheese

8 oz. monterey jack cheese
8 oz. extra sharp Vermont cheddar (white)
6 oz. sharp NY cheddar (yellow)
1 - 1/2 big kosher dill pickle (preferably Claussen's)
1 - 4 oz. jar pimentos, drained
3 cloves garlic
6 oz. cream cheese

1/2 c. mayonnaise (I'd prefer Duke's, but you can't get it up here, so I used Hellman's
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
hot sauce to taste (I always end up using a lot more than I'd guess because the fire really gets subsumed by the cream cheese)
1-2 tsp. veggie worcestershire sauce

1) Using a food processor with a grating blade, shred monterey jack and both cheddars. Add pickle, pimentos and garlic. Add the cream cheese, pulsing.

2) Turn mixture out into a large bowl. Blend in mayonnaise, red wine vinegar, hot sauce and worcestershire sauce.


  1. We can't get pimento cheese in the U.K, but if I could I would give these a go. Looks fantastic!

  2. Oh, lordy - never buy pimento cheese in the grocery, even if it is available! They sell something they call "pimento cheese" in the grocery here, but there's no resemblance to homemade. I use Vermont cheddars because I live in New England, but were I still living over your way (as I did for a long while), I'd try it using some of those fantastic English and Irish cheddars. It's a lot easier and less time-consuming than you might think.

  3. What a great-looking recipe and thank you for posting it. Our supermarkets in Tennessee sell countless brands of pimento cheese, but they can't compare to my homemade batches made from Vermont cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Duke's. Homemade is where it's at. By the way, some World Market-Cost Plus stores sell Duke's. -- Chattanooga Charlie

  4. Note: By the way, I always keep a bottle of Bragg's in my cupboard. :) -- Chattanooga Charlie

  5. Tom's Tiny Kitchen makes a homemade pimento cheese and sells it at Miss Cordelia's Grocery and various farmer's markets in Memphis. This is seriously the ONLY answer in not making it yourself (because Holiday Ham uses too much mayo).

  6. I've never put pickles in my pimiento cheese, but I can imagine that'd add an interesting layer of flavor. I love pickles, especially Claussen's, so I may have to try this.
    Otherwise, my pimiento cheese recipe is pretty similar to yours except I've never used vinegar and I usually don't add cream cheese unless I'm feeling fancy. :)