Perfect Pimento Cheese

I had my first taste of pimento cheese when I went to a friend's birthday party in Hell's Kitchen. His girlfriend had surprised him by having his favorite restaurant in Atlanta ship some of his favorite dishes right to NYC just for the party. Among the ribs and the slaw and the pulled pork sandwiches, were bowls of a sharp, creamy cheese spread peppered with bright red pimentos. The bowls were surrounded by little triangles of white sandwich bread to accompany the cheese, and I must've consumed a whole loaf's worth by the time I was done marveling over the deliciousness of it all. Pimento cheese is practically it's own food group down South and it's so good, that I couldn't help feeling that I'd somehow been cheated out of years of pimento cheese pleasures.

This recipe uses piquante peppers because I like a little heat in my cheese, some mayo, a bit of cream cheese, and the best hunk of extra sharp cheddar I could find, grated down finely into tissue-thin shreds. It was so good that I ate the entire serving on my own (enough to feed an intimate party, I imagine) in a matter of three days, spreading it on slices of a crusty baguette from Amy's Bread. Heaven. Bring this stuff to any social gathering you have on the horizon, and you'll be the most popular person in the room, I promise.

Pimento Cheese
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, finely grated
One 4 ounce jar pimentos, roasted red peppers, or piquante peppers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of ground cayenne

Put the Cheddar, pimentos, mayonnaise, cream cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne into a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with a spoon until it is well blended and the Cheddar becomes creamy. Refrigerate for about 1 hour before serving. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.