Do you ever just crave something ooey gooey and delicious? Oh and with some melted cheese and smoky ham added in for good measure – then I have just the perfect treat for you. I was relaxing on a Saturday morning and watching one of my favorite shows on the Cooking Channel called Road Trip with G. Garvin, when he completely caught my eye by making a Pimento Cheese and Ham Hock Toast. Okay – I have to admit my mouth was completely watering and wanted to share with all of you.
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I have a distinct fascination with the South. Not sure what it is, considering a lot of the southern states are still on my “Visit All 50 States Bucket List”. Perhaps that is why I just adore this show. The way that G executes the narration of the show and engages with the chefs, I feel transported to that restaurant and can “almost” taste the food. I knew that I needed to make this pimento cheese delight ASAP. Luckily for me, I had the ingredients on hand and could easily whip it up for our Friday Night Bites for hubby and me.
I was curious to learn more about the origin of Pimento Cheese, so I did a bit of research. Obviously it is southern in nature and is affectionately known as the "caviar of the south". I found two interesting articles the share the history of Pimento Cheese – quite interesting. Feel free to learn more by clicking here and here. One even outlines that it was originated outside of the south – you decide. In any event, it is one delicious concoction.
These bites of goodness would pair great with an ice cold glass of artisan beer or a chilled glass of Chardonnay. These are a crowd pleaser and so simple to make. Hope you enjoy your next Friday Night with these tasty delights.
Gooey Pimento Cheese & Ham Crostini
1 or 2 Smoked ham hocks (about 1 pound)
3 Tablespoons finely chopped roasted red bell pepper
3 Tablespoon Sherry Vinegar
2 ½ Cups Grated Extra Sharp Cheddar (10 oz), at room temperature
¾ Cup Mayonnaise
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1/8 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Toasted Baguette Slices
Place the smoked ham hocks in a pot with enough water to cover and simmer, covered, until meat is falling off the bone, about 4 hours. I would suggest doing this step the day before. Remove the ham hocks, cool for 15 minutes and shred the meat. You should have about ½ cup of shredded meat.
Mix the roasted red pepper with the vinegar in a small bowl and set aside to soak for 30 minutes. Drain loosely the peppers prior to adding to the cheese. Place the grated cheddar in a large bowl and add the shredded ham, roasted red peppers drained, mayonnaise, paprika, cayenne and 5 or 6 turns of freshly ground black pepper and stir together until well mixed and creamy. Taste and add salt if needed.
Spread the pimento cheese mixture on baguette slices and toast in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown – about 10 minutes. You can also cook under the broiler for super bubbly toasts.