Well, you know you are in the South when you get offered something called pimentacheese.
They are referring to pimento cheese, one of the few dishes I know of that can be served alongside fancy crackers at a wedding reception or smooshed between two slices of white bread with a dill pickle spear on the side after a hard day of working in the yard.
It may surprise you that Mississippi has a thriving food scene. But really, it shouldn’t. We’ve been preparing delicious food for generations. There is always a special place for the greasy spoon and the Mom and Pop diners with their fried catfish and hushpuppies. But we’ve got fine dining covered too.
I’ve mentioned places like Babalu and Walker’s Drive In. A few months ago, I treated The Husband to a birthday lunch at Parlor Market. There are a lot of new and exciting things going on in Downtown Jackson and Parlor Market is one of them. They opened last year and specialize in Southern cuisine, but somehow they’ve managed to take some of the old classics and make it very chic.
Parlor Market; Jackson, MS
Parlor Market single-handedly broke a twenty-something-year aversion to pimento cheese. The first time I tasted pimento cheese as a child, it came from a plastic container. It was neon orange and the consistency of jello salad. I know, that’s like eating Spam and deciding you don’t like beef. But since that fateful day, I made a point to never let pimento cheese touch my plate.
So imagine my dismay when The Husband, for his birthday lunch, decides he wants to start with an order of pimento cheese. Looking back now, he was probably thinking if he ordered something I didn’t like he wouldn’t have to share.
And really, what could I say?
“Honey, I know it’s your birthday and all, but I don’t like pimento cheese. And it’s all about me. No matter what day it is.”
Two things went through my head when our waiter brought out our appetizer.
1.) There is some nice natural light coming in through this window. I wish I had my camera because this would actually make a great picture.
2.) Well, I can at least munch on the crostini until our food comes.
The Husband dug right in, scooping up a big blob of pimento cheese with a crostini and shoving it into his mouth. He started talking and pointing then. It was hard to understand what he was saying with his mouth full, but I did manage to make out, “You need to try this.”
Long story short, even after our entrees arrived we were still caught up in noshing on the pimento cheese. Then we ordered another basket of crostini because we ran out. There was no neon orange jello salad going on here. It was cheesy deliciousness with a hint of smokiness.
Parlor Market Pimento Cheese
- 1 pound smoked cheddar, grated
- 1 pound bacon, cooked, crumbled
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 quart mayonnaise
- Approximately ¼-can chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped
- 1 green onion, white and green parts, chopped, optional
- 1 day old baguette, sliced
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Paprika, Italian seasoning, kosher salt
- Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl and garnish with green onions, if desired.
- Serve on a sandwich or with crostini.
- Makes 4 cups pimento cheese
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Arrange baguette slices in one layer on a cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with spices.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until crostini is toasted.