There are few things more comforting than hot triangles of bread filled with gooey cheese. But there’s no need to limit yourself to a block of tasty cheese and a tin of beans when it comes to your filling. Consider pimento cheese – a spread made from cheese, mayonnaise and peppers, and a staple of southern-American cuisine, notably as a snack on the PGA Masters tour. But you don’t need a gold club to get around this grilled cheese from Maker & Monger in Prahran, Melbourne – just the desire to lift your toastie handicap, which really shouldn’t require much effort to muster.
“Pimento cheese is symbolic for me due to my love of the American cheese scene, [the] camaraderie amongst its cheesemongers, and the incredible cheeses their artisan cheesemakers are producing,” says Maker & Monger owner Anthony Femia. “Everyone in America has a favourite pimento cheese recipe, this is ours! You can even increase the mayonnaise for the cheese mixture and serve it as a dip with crudités.”
Pimento Grilled Cheese
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
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8 slices of artisan sourdough bread, cut thick (1.5cm) for toasting
100g unsalted butter (room temperature)
400g Cabot clothbound cheddar, grated
100g That’s Amore smoked scamorza, grated
75g roasted capsicum, finely diced
50g pickled cornichons, finely diced
½ large brown onion, finely diced
¼ bunch parsley, finely chopped
50g pickled jalapeño, drained and finely chopped
100g aioli or mayonnaise
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cracked black pepper
Murray River pink salt (or other) to season
Butter one side of each slice of bread. Place 4 slices on your bench, buttered side down.
In a separate bowl, mix the grated cheese with the vegetables and seasonings.
Add the aioli or mayonnaise and combine well.
Distribute the cheese mixture over the 4 slices, ensuring that it’s the same thickness as the slice of bread (1.5cm). Place the remaining 4 slices of bread on top, buttered side up.
Frying pan method:
Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Put the sandwiches in the frying pan, in batches if necessary, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the undersides are golden brown and the cheese has slowly started to melt.
Turn the sandwiches with a spatula, pressing firmly.
Cook for another 2 minutes, until the other side is golden brown.
Sandwich press method:
As per manufacturer instructions, turn on press and heat up until ready light illuminates. Put the sandwich in and press lightly. Cook for 3 to 5 mins until outside is golden and interior has melted.
Serve immediately with a sprinkle of pink salt on top.
This article was updated on October 31, 2019 at 3.51pm.