This sandwich combination has been on my mind for a couple of months, so today when I decided that I was past due for delivering a blog recipe ... and it was lunch time ... I finally did something about it.
Of course, I practically had to start from scratch, although I did have bread, cheese, bacon, mayonnaise AND jars of chopped pimentos and pepper jelly. What do you mean your pantry does not contain staples like chopped pimentos and pepper jelly?
I decided not to deviate too far from my basic recipe for pimento cheese, but did incorporate one addition -- Howard's Sweet Pepper Relish. And of course, the two most important ingredients, on which this whole culinary adventures turns -- crisp bacon and pepper jelly.
Just so you know, I have often made my own pepper jelly, but have turned to prepared brands lately because of the high price of red peppers at the grocery store. Growing my own is an option, and maybe even a necessity, if the price remains high this year.
Anyway, the recipe adaptation I used for today's pimento cheese is written below, along with the directions for making the sandwich -- even if recipe is an exaggerated term for adding bacon and pepper jelly to a plain old pimento cheese sandwich. Others have created something similar, but I do not recall having seen it anywhere, before it popped into my very own head.
Just a note for those who think using store-bought pimento cheese is a shortcut. Yes, it is. You will save five minutes, because that's about how long it takes to make the far superior version for yourself, right in your own kitchen. 'Nuff said. Do as you will.
Here's what I did:
Homemade Pimento Cheeseadapted from Frank Stitt's Southern Table
3 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese (I usually use packaged Kraft or Sargento
shredded sharp cheddar cheese)
1 oz. cream cheese, softened (low-fat, if you prefer)
8-oz. jar diced pimento
1/2 c. mayonnaise (Hellman's, Duke's or Homemade only!)
Cholula or Tabasco hot sauce, several shakes (or to taste, or not at all)
1 - 2 tbsp. Howard's Sweet Pepper Relish
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Keep in refrigerator for several hours, or until ready to use for sandwiches, crackers, celery sticks or eating from a spoon.
Grilled Pimento Cheese, Bacon and Pepper Jelly Sandwich
2 slices good white or whole grain bread
Homemade Pimento Cheese
2 slices crisp bacon
red or green pepper jelly (store-bought or homemade)
butter (the real stuff is all I use, but you use what you want)
Lay out two pieces of bread. On one piece of bread, spread a generous, but not ridiculous, amount of pimento cheese. Break bacon into 4 pieces and place on top of pimento cheese. On second piece of bread, spread a fairly thin coating of pepper jelly. Place pepper jelly side on top of pimento cheese-bacon side of bread. Heat griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat. When surface of pan is hot, melt some butter in the center of the pan and place the sandwich right on the melted butter. Cook until first side of bread is golden brown and crispy. Remove sandwich with a spatula and melt more butter in pan. Flip sandwich as you place right on melted butter. Continue to cook over medium heat until second side is golden brown and crispy. Remove from heat, slice in half and place on plate. Eat it while it's hot! And by the way, one sandwich could very possibly serve two people. It is a rich sandwich experience.