The Fresh Market introduced its version of pimento cheese, based on a company founder’s family recipe, as its first private label product in 1983 and, to date, has sold more than 11 million pounds of it to customers across the country.
To celebrate this flavorful spread, The Fresh Market is spreading its love for pimento cheese through recipes, tips, social media contests and more. In addition, shoppers who visit The Fresh Market stores on April 9 will enjoy sampling a variety of pimento cheese products and recipes in honor of this fun new culinary holiday.
The History: Pimento Cheese Is Not Just a Southern Thing
First emerging in the United States in the early 1900s, pimento cheese originally appeared in Northern test kitchens after the introduction of cream cheese. It was served as a delicacy on crustless sandwiches at tea parties across the nation.
According to The Fresh Market’s culinary expert Sheri Castle, “The classic spread combines the simple, yet elegant flavors of good quality cheddar cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos. But from that point on, everything is up for debate.”
Depending on personal preference and family tradition, pimento cheese can require a specific kind of mayonnaise or hot sauce, for example. Also a topic of heated discourse is the use of yellow or white cheddar, or a combination of the two.
Additional ingredients can range from Worcestershire sauce to grated onion, ketchup to pickled ramps. And the texture is important as well – some people like their pimento cheese creamy, with hand-grated cheese and extra mayonnaise, while others prefer a drier, chunkier spread made in a food processor.
The Fresh Market offers three different varieties in its private brand alone, to satisfy the needs of its many pimento cheese-loving customers.
“Whether it’s creamy, chunky, peppery, plain, store-bought, or homemade,” says Castle, “there’s a pimento cheese for everyone to love.”
Perhaps the reason there are so many variations is that most pimento cheese recipes hail from home kitchens and are passed down through generations. The Fresh Market’s own family recipe is derived from…well, actually, that’s a secret the company isn’t willing to share.
In honor of National Pimento Cheese Day, The Fresh Market is serving up two pimento cheese recipes to take this traditional spread up a notch:
Savory Pimento Cheese Drop Biscuits
Makes 10 – 12 biscuits
2 c. The Fresh Market All Purpose Flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 c. The Fresh Market Whole Milk
1/4 c. Dukes Mayonnaise*
1 1/2 c. sharp yellow cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tbsp. jarred pimentos, drained and chopped
2 tbsp. green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 c. butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mist a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.
Add milk and mayonnaise until the flour is fully incorporated: stir only until combined. Fold in cheese, pimentos, and green onions. Drop in large mounds (about 2-3 tablespoons each) onto prepared baking sheet, spacing the biscuits at least 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Brush tops with melted butter. Serve warm, either plain or buttered.
* The Fresh Market prefers Dukes Mayonnaise for this recipe. If using a different brand, omit the 2 tsp. of sugar.
Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs
Makes 24 eggs
12 The Fresh Market Large Eggs
1/2 c. The Fresh Market Pimento Cheese
1/4 c. Dukes Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
Pickled okra, thinly sliced
Place eggs in a large saucepan and add cool water to cover. Bring just to a boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a large bowl with ice water. Immediately transfer eggs to the ice water to cool for 5 minutes. Peel eggs and cut in half lengthwise.
Spoon yolks into a large bowl and mash with fork tines until smooth. Add pimento cheese, mayonnaise, and pepper to the yolks, and mix well. Arrange the whites on a serving dish. Spoon yolk mixture into the whites. Top with a slice of okra.
Cover and refrigerate until lightly chilled before serving.