Friday, April 8, 2016

Pimento Cheese Style Carrot Spread

The idea of replacing the cheddar cheese in our pimento cheese with shredded carrots has been with us for a while. I mean, shredded carrots look exactly like shredded cheddar, but who would ever think they could play the part? Back in 2014, a version of this dish got our friend Kelly R.'s seal of approval (which isn't the easiest thing to come by). However, we know that if Kelly likes it, then everyone likes it. It wasn't until recently that we decided to try this recipe with not some, but all of the cheddar replaced by carrots. Whoa! It takes the pimento cheese form and makes it into something familiar yet different and, dare we say, better.

The sweetness of the carrots plays nicely with the acidity of the pickled peppers while the creamy goat cheese and mayo add that old familiar richness. The idea here, as with a lot of our cooking, is to use vegetables in unexpected and exciting ways in order to motivate all of us to eat them more often. The result is a lightened-up pimento cheese that has a ton of flavor and a great texture.  

Pimento Cheese Style Carrot Spread

2 cups shredded carrots
3 ounces soft goat cheese
1/4 cup mayo 
1/2 cup finely diced pickled peppers (We like the marinated sweet peppers you can find on almost any olive bar, but actual pimentos are great, too.)
1/4 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1/8 cup minced shallot*
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

Place the carrots into a microwave-safe bowl and cover the bowl with a dinner plate. Microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Uncover -- be careful not to let the steam burn you! -- and allow the carrots to cool. Mix the carrots, goat cheese, mayo, peppers, vinegar, shallot, black pepper, and salt until incorporated. It's as simple as that. Refrigerate and allow the flavors to meld for at least an hour for best results. 

*Mince the shallot then place it into a mesh strainer. You'll only need about a tablespoon. Run the minced shallot under cold water for a few seconds. This will take away any raw onion flavor and keep the shallot from overpowering the dish.

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