Daily Special: Pimiento Cheese Crostini

Pimiento Cheese Crostini

Down South, “p'mennacheese” rolls off many a tongue. I prefer to go easy on the “love,” mayonnaise, and focus my efforts by using top-quality sharp Cheddar. Check out Kenny's Farmhouse in Austin, Kentucky, for some of the best cheese in the South (see pg. 278). Pimiento cheese can be made up to three days in advance and kept covered in the refrigerator and should yield enough leftovers for lunch or a late-night sandwich.

Hands on: 18 min. ~ Total: 28 min. ~ Serves 6-8

1 (16-oz.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, at room temperature

¼ Vidalia or sweet onion

1 (4-oz.) can diced pimiento, drained

½ cup mayonnaise

1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

1 (12-oz.) French bread baguette, cut into 50 (1/4-inch-thick) slices

6 Tbsp. olive oil

½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: finely chopped fresh chives

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Shred cheese through large holes of a box grater. Grate onion through small holes of grater to equal 1 tsp.; squeeze grated onion in paper towel to remove excess moisture. Combine cheese onion, the next 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Using a fork, mash ingredients until cheese softens and mixture is thoroughly blended.

2. Place bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Generously brush tops of bread slices with oil, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

3. Spread cheese mixture generously over tops of toasted bread slices and serve immediately.