You might be surprised to know that pimento is a vegetable, not a cheese. The pimento is a heart-shaped pepper that made its way to a young United States via Spanish explorers. The largest commercial producer and retailer of pimentos in the United States, Moody Dunbar, was started in East Tennessee by a schoolteacher seeking to supplement his income during the Great Depression. Southerners have always loved this ubiquitous and versatile spread, embracing it as “the pâté of the South.” We add the smokiness of bacon and the satisfying crunch and sweetness of pecans.
Bourbon Country Cookbook by David Danielson and Tim Laird
In a large bowl, combine the yellow cheddar, white cheddar, mayonnaise, pimentos, pecans, bacon, mustard, cayenne pepper, and celery seed. For a smoother mixture, use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes. When the mixture is completely combined, taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Note: To toast pecans at home, preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until the nuts begin to brown and become fragrant.
Reprinted with permission from The Bourbon Country Cookbook by David Danielson and Tim Laird, Agate Surrey, 2018.