Cheddar is not the culprit here

Cheddar is not the culprit here

Pimento Cheese is one of my favorite things on the planet. In a future blog post I will write about it and share Mama's recipe for her Pimento Cheese. For now, let's look at an alternate version of this Southern staple.

I visit my sister Paula each September and spend a week at her condo in St. Augustine Beach. If you ever have the chance, St. Augustine is a wonderful place to visit, vacation and rest and recharge. On my visit in 2011, we were invited to her neighbor Jim & Bonnie's for a cookout. During that time I was doing much of the testing for recipes I will include in my cookbook. I came across a very interesting recipe from Matt and Ted Lee.

In their book, The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout DIshes with Down-Home Flavor, their recipe for Cheese Relish is suggested as a snack for your favorite cracker or as a filling for a grilled sandwich. I prepared this dish and presented it with a basket of crackers. However, many of the guests were adding it to their hot dogs as a topping. After a taste myself, I have decided this is my preferred way to enjoy this "anti-Pimento Cheese". I imagine it would be great on a grilled burger as well. This recipe is in honor of Matt and Ted, as I prepare to spend next week at their Cookbook Book Camp in Brooklyn. 

Cheese Relish

10 oz. Swiss cheese, finely grated
One 12-oz. jar pickled banana peppers (hot if available) drained and minced
3 tbs. sour cream
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
2 tbs. chives minced (approx. 1/6 bunch)
2 tbs. capers (soaked in fresh water for 1 minute then drained)

Mix all ingredients together with a spatula until evenly blended.  Refrigerate, if possible, for 2 hours or overnight.   

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