Over the weekend, we went to a really fun appetizer potluck party in our neighborhood and I thought I’d bring a recipe out of my new cookbook for my contribution. I mean, really, is there any other choice? I have a new cookbook coming out and I needed an appetizer….it was a no brainer. These Sweet Pepper Pimento Cheese Poppers served as sort of marketing for the book.
They went over really, really well so I thought I’d share them here and give you a sneak peek into the book. Mainly people wanted to talk about how cute they were on the serving platter, but when I went to grab my platter to head home, I had only 2 remaining poppers.
Out of about 30!
I’m going to call that a successful appetizer.
I added a recipe for homemade pimento cheese into my cookbook for a couple of reasons. In the South, your pimento cheese is a household staple. You can eat it on sandwiches, eat it on crackers, stuff it in your burgers, and put it into these halved sweet peppers and eat it that way, too. You can also eat it straight out of the bowl, but I’m not advocating for you being unladylike. 🙂
What I have realized, however, is that not everyone is familiar with pimento cheese nor is it sold in some grocery stores in the North. I think it’s sad, sad that everyone not have access to pimento cheese so I added it to my book.
One last thing about pimento cheese, though. If you’re used to seeing it bright orange and wondering why mine is lighter, it’s because I purposely choose to use white sharp cheddar cheese rather than orange. I did a bit of research and there’s no taste difference between the colors. White cheddar cheese doesn’t contain the color additive, and therefore white rather than yellow/orange. The additives were originally added to distinguish where the cheese was made. For me, because I was adding the cheese into yellow and orange sweet peppers for my poppers, I didn’t want my poppers to be sooooo orange.
Enough of that, let’s get to the recipe:
- For the Pimento Cheese:
- 1 large pimento or sweet bell pepper, halved
- olive oil
- sea salt, to taste
- 1 pound sharp white Cheddar cheese
- 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
- ¼ cup minced red onion
- ½ teaspoon garlic
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- For the Poppers:
- 2 cups pimento cheese
- 24 tricolor sweet mini peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
- Freshly ground pepper, optional
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place the pepper halves on a baking sheet and brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast until the skin is blistered, about 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the peels, chop, and place in a small bowl. Set aside.
Shred the cheese and place in a large bowl. Add the mayonnaise, red onion, garlic, black pepper, and peppers. Fold the mixture until the pimentos are mixed throughout the cheese and the mayonnaise has binded with the cheese.
Stuff each pepper half with about 2 teaspoons of pimento cheese mixture. Sprinkle with black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Makes: 24 small peppers
Homemade pimento cheese couldn’t be easier to create and you can control the ingredients for your own taste as well. Play around with what you like best.
To make the poppers, you just stuff the pimento cheese into sweet peppers that have been halved (and seeds removed) and create an appetizer platter that looks festive and doesn’t require utensils or toothpicks…you simply “pop” them into your mouth hence the name poppers.
Say this five times fast:
Sweet Pepper Pimento Cheese Poppers- Sweet Pepper Pimento Cheese Poppers- Sweet Pepper Pimento Cheese Poppers!
Reserve some of your peppers to display in a small bowl with a sign letting your guests know what they’re eating and call it a day.
I’ll be making these guys again for Cinco de Mayo because the colors are so festive!
I’m also gearing up for a signature margarita. Cannot wait.