8/4/13

Pimento Cheese BLTs

First off, I just want to quickly thank you all for the well wishes from last week's announcement. You all are the best, and if I could, I would make you all individual pimento BLTs! 

But for now, let's get back to the topic at hand. 

We spent the first leg of our recent North Carolina vacation in Raleigh visiting family and eating amazing food at some of the best restaurants in town. Thanks to Matt's sister and parents who really get me and the way I want to spend my vacation, we made it to Lantern in Chapel Hill as well as Panciuto in the charming little town of Hillsborough where I had the most delicious crab salad of my life. But it being vacation and all, we also had lots of time to cook. And well, since we were in the South, we wanted to keep our cooking appropriately southern. Thus, the idea for pimento cheese BLTs was born!
I know that old-school orange cheddar is kind of a thing of the past in this farm-to-table world we live in, but I say embrace it when it comes to pimento cheese. I mean, isn't that the thing about pimento cheese? It's orange

Also, word to the wise, if you decide to make this for a crowd, start frying your bacon earlier than you think. I'd slated dinner for six o'clock, but as it turns out, crisp bacon for 8 adults doesn't happen in twenty minutes.
Though I must say, it was worth the wait. I mean, c'mon. Look at it!
Pimento Cheese BLTs
makes 4 sandwiches (you'll probably have extra pimento cheese, but I'm sure you can figure out a way to eat it the next day.)

pimento cheese (recipe below)
12 slices of thick-cut bacon
8 slices of sourdough sandwich bread 
1 small head of Bibb lettuce
1 to 2 tomatoes (Really go for the best tomatoes you can find. A mealy tomato won't cut it here.)

For the pimento cheese:
1/2 pound extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers (or if you're down south, you can probably find a jar of pimentos)
approximately 2 tablespoons shallots, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Salt
Tabasco

In a food processor, combine the cheddar, roasted peppers, shallots, and mayonnaise. Pulse until the cheese is finely copped but not creamy. Season with salt and Tabasco to taste. Set aside for sandwich assembly.

Rinse and dry the lettuce. Slice your tomatoes. Set aside.

Pan-fry the bacon in batches of 4 or 5 strips until crispy. (I pour off the bacon fat in between batches, reserving it to use for something else that calls for lard or bacon fat.) After blotting the strips with paper towels, I put them on a baking sheet in a warm oven to hang out until all the bacon is fried up.

Toast the bread. 

Ask your guests to assemble their BLTs! I mean, I guess you could assemble each one for them, but I know Matt wanted to be in charge of his own pimento cheese layer, lest he get short changed. So, I just put out all the components and let people make their own. Enjoy!
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15 comments:

Matthew said...

Ahhhh, I wish I could have these for lunch every day. xoxo

penelope said...

That last photo is beautiful!

Andrea said...

These were so yummy. I just went out at lunch and bought the makings of pimento cheese to make more tonight :-)

Miss you guys!

Unknown said...

If you really want to go southern with your Pimento Cheese Sandwich, try adding a fried green tomato... truly delicious!

lauraborealis said...

helpful kitchen tip: try cooking bacon in the oven next time! You can line baking trays with foil for easy clean up. Line up the bacon into rows, bake at 375 or 400 for about 15 minutes. The bacon crisps up even more after it cools so don't overcook them or you'll end up with bacon dust. I do this at work with a huge oven and you can have bacon for a heck of a lot of people ready in 20 minutes! Love your posts!

Amelia Morris said...

Thanks, Laura! What I left out from the story is that I actually tried that with the first pack! But I must've pulled them out too early because the oven slices didn't crisp up as well, so I ended up frying the rest. Next time though, next time!

Evanne Holloway said...

LONG TIME FAN of your blog and pimento cheese!! They both bring so much joy! Three Alabama summers ago I embarked on journey to perfect my recipe. Girl, let me tell you... it is a divine rabit hole to fall in. I settled on a cream cheese base/white AND orange cheddah/dash worcestershire/jalapeno for my "hot damn that is good pimento cheese" signature.

Agree with the fried green tomato! Go the Frank Stitt route and add a roasted poblano on top.

Ashley @ Quarter Life (Crisis) Cuisine said...

I have ALWAYS wanted to try pimento cheese, on a sandwich, like this. Yum! Putting it in BLT form just puts it over the edge :)

RachelRobot said...

So happy that you got to spend time in the town I call home!

Irina @ wandercrush said...

A southern twist done so, so right! I crave pimento cheese immensely sometimes, and I imagine this would do the trick.

Betsy H said...

You have to turn over the bacon, right near the end of the cooking time. I buy fairly thick-sliced Applewood Smoked Bacon (I'd use ALL caps on that, if it didn't just look silly) from my local organic grocery, or Whole Foods. You need a THICK jelly roll pan -- the kind you buy from a Restaurant Supply place -- and NO foil (stops the bacon from caramelizing). Lay the slices out cheek-by-jowl. DO NOT pre-heat the oven -- just turn it on at 400, pop in the pan of raw bacon, set timer for 20 minutes -- at the 20-minute mark, I turn ALL of the bacon over (some of them will stick together - no big deal), and pop it all back in for 5 minutes. Then lay the bacon out on a double thickness of paper towel, as usual. NO MORE bacon burns!! Or ruined clothes (HOW can bacon grease spatter find its way AROUND my apron?!?).

Betsy H said...

Your pimento cheese looks a LOT less drippy-mayonaise-y than my grandmother's. Never liked it for that reason. LOVED the flavor, but not the slippy-slidy nature of hers. NOW I can make this with confidence, and less grease. PLUS, I can choose a really sharp cheddar!

Next weekend plan: Fat tomatoes from the farmer's market, good bacon from Berkeley Bowl, Pimento Cheese BLTs for Sunday lunch. YUM! (Ooh, on lightly-toasted Acme Rosemary Herb Slab Foccacia! Yummer!!)

Betsy H said...

You have to turn over the bacon, right near the end of the cooking time. I buy fairly thick-sliced Applewood Smoked Bacon (I'd use ALL caps on that, if it didn't just look silly) from my local organic grocery, or Whole Foods. You need a THICK jelly roll pan -- the kind you buy from a Restaurant Supply place -- and NO foil (stops the bacon from caramelizing). Lay the slices out cheek-by-jowl. DO NOT pre-heat the oven -- just turn it on at 400, pop in the pan of raw bacon, set timer for 20 minutes -- at the 20-minute mark, I turn ALL of the bacon over (some of them will stick together - no big deal), and pop it all back in for 5 minutes. Then lay the bacon out on a double thickness of paper towel, as usual. NO MORE bacon burns!! Or ruined clothes (HOW can bacon grease spatter find its way AROUND my apron?!?).

Amelia Morris said...

This sounds like an amazing plan!

Amelia Morris said...

Thanks so much, Betsy. Sounds like you know what you're doing!!