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Smoked Gouda and Piquillo Pepper Cheese

March 3, 2011

by Elizabeth

It seems there are some foods that are just better when made by someone else. Oddly enough, for me these are not the complicated or gourmet dishes you would expect – I will gladly conquer Shrimp and Grits à la John Besh, Hugo’s Crawfish Macaroni and Cheese, Balthazar Salad, and Ina’s Sole Meunière in my own kitchen and be perfectly satisfied. But two of my very favorite lunches, simple dishes I would happily eat every day if calories were no object – chicken salad and pimento cheese – have proved impossible for me to recreate. We’re talking a Luncheon Sampler Plate: 15 – Liz: 0 record.

Maybe I’m making things too complicated, or maybe Kathleen’s, Short Stop, Two Sisters, and Zoe’s are all scheming to drive me insane by putting secret, indeterminable ingredients in their amazing renditions of Pimento Cheese and Chicken Salad. Regardless, I’ve decided that 2011 is the year I will make my own, and I will LIKE them. This “pimento cheese” is really not traditional at all, it’s smoky and spicy, and therefore has a totally different flavor profile than my favorite cafe staples. I think I’ve finally succeeded – not by replicating, but by reinventing, which really is the best kind of cooking after all.

Smoked Gouda and Piquillo Pepper Cheese

1 cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 tablespoons minced, jarred piquillo peppers *
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon grated onion
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Refrigerate for at least one hour, preferably over night, to allow flavors to meld. Serve with crackers or as a sandwich. Honey wheat and sourdough bread are my favorite pairings.

*Piquillo peppers can be found with the jarred pimento and roasted red peppers at most grocery stores. They are a Spanish pepper, and I find that they have more flavor and a bit more spice and smoke.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 3, 2011 3:39 pm

    Oh. My. God. That looks amazing.

    Minus one small detail… pardon my ignorance… what is a piquillo pepper?

  2. March 3, 2011 3:47 pm

    I should have explained the peppers – I added that above 🙂

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