I've never been a huge fan of pimiento cheese, the so-called caviar of the South. It's not that I dislike it --- put it in front of me and I'll eat it --- it just never had that 'wow' factor. Every proper hostess in the 60's and 70's, my mother included, would glop up celery with it and serve it as a part of a fancy relish tray. Thankfully, that trend seems to have died out.
I was inspired to make this sandwich from a similar one I had at the Chocolate Angel, a luncheon and tea room popular with the ladies in my neighborhood. Normally, I would steer clear of any mention of pimiento cheese, but this concoction had three of my favorite things: jalapenos, strawberry jam and BACON. What could possibly go wrong?
The original recipe utilizes Miss Mattie's pimiento cheese, a homemade version "just like our Grannie made!" I used a store-bought brand. The original also calls for candied jalapenos. I used pickled jalapenos.
Spicy Pimiento Cheese Sammies with Bacon
Pimiento cheese spread (I used the Price's brand - a small tub will make two generous sandwiches)
Sliced pickled jalapenos, drained and finely chopped (I used the Old El Paso brand - use as much as you want, according to your taste)
Dash(es) of cayenne pepper (this turns up the heat, use to your taste)
Bacon, figure 2 - 3 slices per sandwich
Butter, softened, so it's easily spreadable
Some kind of hearty bread like a sourdough or multi-grain (I used an orange-cranberry bread)
Mix together the pimiento cheese, jalapenos and cayenne pepper. This will taste better if made early in the day to allow the flavors to marry. It's also better to let your mixture sit out to room temp before making the sandwiches; you don't want the insides ice-cold.
In a skillet, fry your bacon. Drain well.
Wipe out the interior of your skillet with paper towels. Spread a generous amount of butter on both sides of your bread slices. Fry the bread in the skillet --- both sides --- until nicely browned and toasty.
Remove the bread and while still hot, assemble your sandwiches: spread a generous amount of the cheese mixture on one slice. Layer on the bacon. Spread the other bread slice with the jam and top off your sandwich. Cut in half and serve immediately.
"I am not
a glutton; I am an explorer of food." How I miss Erma Bombeck!