A Cheesy Twist on Mashed Potatoes


Photo by suzijane/Flickr CC

This dish is really neither summery nor great for picnics but it's on my mind so now it's here. It's almost embarrassingly simple if you're looking for haute cuisine, but really super good if you just want something good to eat. Credit goes to Jay Bodley and Melina Hinton, who thought of it. We're scheming together to do a whole week of pimento cheese specials together and try to turn it into an annual pimento cheese festival. Start writing your PC poetry now--I'm forecasting a fall "arrival."

Anyways, pimento cheese mashed potatoes aren't a hard thing to make happen, especially if you live somewhere where you have pimento cheese ready to buy/eat. You just go about making mashed potatoes as you always would. I like doing them in a food mill, but of course everyone has their own favorite. This time of year I'm buying mostly Yukon Golds since they seem to have their flavor hold up better than most, but soon we'll be getting local potatoes of all sorts so you can take your pick from what's at the market.

Because I've got bacon on my mind from the bacon book's impending arrival, I've been doing it with chopped bits of bacon on top.

In either case, when the potatoes are tender pull them from the pan, mash and hold hot. Use pimento cheese as the "fat"--i.e., skip adding butter, cream or olive oil and just throw in more or less pimento cheese--and mash well.

Because I've got bacon on my mind from the bacon book's impending arrival, I've been doing it with chopped bits of bacon on top (I like Arkansas peppered, but you can pick your own.) If you really want to GO FOR IT you could drizzle some hot bacon fat over top like you would olive oil (as per the book, bacon fat in my theory is to North American cooking what olive oil is to the Mediterranean so...). Garnish with chopped celery leaves, too, if you have some.

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Ari Weinzweig is co-founder of Zingerman's Community of Businesses, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is also the author of Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating. More

After graduating from University of Michigan with a degree in Russian history, Ari Weinzweig went to work washing dishes in a local restaurant and soon discovered that he loved the food business. Along with his partner Paul Saginaw, Ari started Zingerman's Delicatessen in 1982 with a $20,000 bank loan, a staff of two, a small selection of great-tasting specialty foods, and a relatively short sandwich menu. Today, Zingerman's is a community of businesses that employs over 500 people and includes a bakery, creamery, sit-down restaurant, training company, coffee roaster, and mail order service. Ari is the author of the best-selling Zingerman's Guide to Good Eating and the forthcoming Zingerman's Guide to Better Bacon.
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