Classic Pimiento Cheese from ‘Nashville Eats’

This week, we’re spotlighting recipes from Nashville Eats: Hot Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and 100 More Southern Recipes from Music City by Jennifer Justus (Stewart, Tabori & Chang), a book that proves Nashville’s food scene is as lively as its music scene. Try making the recipes at home and let us know what you think!

Classic Pimiento Cheese. (Photo: Andrea Behrends)

By Jennifer Justus

Classic Pimiento Cheese
Makes about 1 ½ cups

Southerners might not have invented pimiento cheese, but we’ve sure done our best to claim it.

The spread has kept its place on tables here in both high and low culture—from tearoom sandwiches presented on tiered silver trays to the diagonally cut variety served on a paper plate at the drugstore counter. It also played a role in empowering women entrepreneurs even before they could vote. Eugenia Duke, for example, founder of Duke’s Mayonnaise in Greenville, South Carolina, sold pimiento cheese sandwiches from her home to textile mill workers as well as downtown hotels. Later in the 1950s, a Nashville secretary named Grace Grissom mortgaged all she owned to create Mrs. Grissom’s pimiento cheese, still found in groceries today.

This version stays classic and straightforward with plenty of pimientos in every bite, because that’s the ingredient that makes this spread unique. Worcestershire, hot sauce, and parsley add color and pop.

4 ounces extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces mild yellow cheddar, shredded
1 (4-ounce) jar diced pimientos, drained
¼ cup mayonnaise (I like Duke’s brand)
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
About 6 drops cayenne hot sauce
A good pinch of black pepper

In a medium bowl, toss together the cheeses. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and stir to combine. Refrigerate the spread for an hour or more before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Nashville Eats: Hot Chicken, Buttermilk Biscuits, and 100 More Southern Recipes from Music City by Jennifer Justus (Stewart, Tabori & Chang).

Nashville Eats by Jennifer Justus. (Photo: Andrea Behrends)

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