Pimento cheese

4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 small (2-1/2 inch diameter) onion (about 1 ounce)
1 ounce chopped jarred pimientos or roasted red pepper (about 1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (or more to taste)
Pinch smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Crystal or Tabasco

Pimento (pimiento) cheese

This recipe makes about a cup of pimento cheese; it’s easily doubled. Our version is pretty basic, but the pinch of smoked paprika gives it a little more depth than many recipes. If you can find roasted pequillo peppers, use them. They have more flavor than regular jarred roasted peppers. For a milder result, use sweet onion. 

Grate the cheese medium fine (very fine if you don’t have a food processor).

If you have a small food processor or mini-chopper, place the onion in the bowl and pulse until very finely chopped — it shouldn’t be a paste, but close. Add the pimentos or red peppers and pulse a few times until finely chopped. If you don’t have a food processor, grate the onion and chop the pimentos very fine.

Mix the onions and pimentos into the cheese until evenly distributed. Add the mayonnaise, hot sauce and smoked paprika, and mix until thoroughly combined. If the mixture is too dry, add another teaspoon or so of mayonnaise; the spread shouldn’t be too loose. For a smoother texture, transfer the mixture back to the food processor and pulse a few times. Adjust the seasoning; generally the cheese and mayonnaise add enough salt, but you may need a pinch, or a bit more hot sauce. Serve immediately or refrigerate, covered, for several days.

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