Have you ever loved a dish, but are absolutely disgusted by an ingredient? I was reading a post from the local blog Running with Tweezers, where Tami was making a Celery Soup with Sherry even though she considers celery to be the primary ingredient of her personal hell.
I have a similar feeling towards mayonnaise. I know that it can be used for good (I hate food used for evil), as I often enjoy mayo applications such as potato salad, pasta salad, and of course pimiento cheese*. I just can’t stand the stuff by itself, or even spread on a sandwich. For whatever reason, whenever I think about it, I picture globs of mayo sweating in the sun, ready to pounce on my immune system. Even the dishes I do like with mayonnaise, store bought versions often use too much for my tastes. That’s why making homemade is the way to go in my opinion. Once I made potato salad using smashed avocado in lieu of the mayo and it actually worked out well, though it looked fairly gross.
Having decided that I wanted some homemade pimiento cheese, and I do not stock mayo in my house, I decided I might as well learn how to make it myself. I knew it wasn’t that hard but had never tried so I dashed off to the internet to learn the steps. First I tried a method using a whisk, but the sauce broke and it never whipped up. I wasn’t sure exactly what I did wrong, but perhaps I wasn’t whisking quickly enough.
Rather than try the same method again with my last few eggs, I went back to the drawing board (aka Google) I ended up finding a simple technique using an immersion blender.
* Spelling/Learning Fun - You can spell it pimento or pimiento, both are used interchangeably. Pimientos are a large, red pepper, sweeter and more aromatic than a red bell pepper. I am going to spell it pimiento because that’s how they spelled it on the jar I bought at the grocery store. Also, according to internetland, pimiento cheese is a popular snack in the Phillipines. Oh, and at the Master’s in Augusta the pimiento cheese sandwiches are mind-bending. I usually eat 3-4 of them (at $1.50 each) when I am lucky enough to have scored a ticket.
Here we have two eggs, with the egg whites separated, then I’ve added a tsp of salt and sugar, and a tablespoon of vinegar.
Insert the immersion blender first, then slowly pour the 1/2 cup of oil on top so it rests on the other ingredients.
Then whip it right up! The mayo came out decent, though I think I could have used less vinegar and more oil and it could have been a little thicker. I would have used lemon juice instead of vinegar if I had lemons in stock. This produced roughly 1/2 cup of mayo.
The rest was easy. I took half a jar of pimientos, chopped them up a bit (they were large pieces), then mixed it with 3 cups of shredded aged white Cabot cheddar, a dash of powdered mustard, 3 minced cloves of garlic, and 1/3 of a cup of the mayo.
Here is the finished product. You can see there is a fair amount of mayonnaise, but it had a fresher, less gunky mayo taste. And knowing that it was so freshly created from three simple ingredients somehow put my mind at ease.
The garlic was very noticeable and the whole dish tasted nice and sharp and it’s definitely some of the better pimiento cheese I’ve eaten. I recommend giving it a try. This whole process literally takes less than 15 minutes once you get the hang of it.
And if you don’t feel like throwing away those eggs whites, give an egg white omelet a shot. What will you have readily available for omelet filling? Pimiento cheese of course!