Pimento cheese has been a bit of a revolting mystery to me. I remember growing up in S. Florida and seeing tubs of premade mass produced orange spread studded with something red at the local Winn Dixie. My young aversion to all red things like tomatoes and peppers growing up carried into adulthood where I would order martinis and pick out the red things stuffed into my olives. Mind you this is before blue cheese started getting stuffed into them. That's another blog for another day though.
Now, while I still dislike bell peppers and tomatoes a more recent tasting of a more fresh preparation of pimento cheese changed my tune. The cheddar was in visible shreds and sharply flavored along with a bit of heat. This is not the processed velveeta based mess from my childhood. It still wasn't perfect but it was like night and day from what my past experience had been. After toying around I came up with a richly flavored pimento cheese spread that still keeps with its true essence. I was a struggle to keep out raw garlic which is my favorite in any dip or spread but I did it.
A more grown up pimento cheese
8 oz softened cream cheese from a block (not whipped)
1/2 c dukes mayonaise
2 tsp smoked paparika
4 Tbsp finely chopped jared pimento
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese
2 Tbsp freshly coarse grated yellow onion (not sweet)
salt and black pepper to taste
in a medium mixing bowl mix all ingredients with a stand or hand mixer til thoroughly combined. Taste to adjust seasoning. Transfer into a bowl or storage container and cover. Let flavors meld at least an hour before serving.