Cheery Tomatoes with Jalapeño-Pimiento Cheese

Cookbook Recipe

We sometimes forget about pimiento cheese, that Southern lunch staple of cheddar, mayonnaise, and pimientos that is much more than the sum of its parts. Well, cookbook author Denise Gee (whose book Southern Cocktails is another favorite) reminded us how good it can be with these summery, bite-sized appetizers.These cheery cherry tomatoes are part of her new book, Porch Parties, which is all about entertaining outdoors. There are beautiful warm-weather cocktails, Gee's specialty, plus easy nibbles and decorating ideas. For those of us without porches, good news: the liquor works just as well inside.

We love that Gee jazzes up the pimiento cheese with a little jalapeño; it gives each tomato a tiny kick. Wouldn't these be so pretty lined up for a party? Trust us, people who have never had pimiento cheese go crazy for it. It's also amazing on a sandwich (even better if you run it, open-faced, under the broiler for a few minutes).

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Buy Porch Parties, $16.95 at Amazon.

Cheery Tomatoes with Jalapeño-Pimiento Cheese
serves 8 to 12

1 small white onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 or 2 jalapeños, de-seeded, stems removed, chopped
1/2 pound medium yellow Cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 pound white sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 (7-ounce) jar pimientos, drained
1 cup mayonnaise
white pepper
about 2 dozen large cherry or small roma tomatoes
jalapeño slivers to garnish (optional)

To make the Jalapeño-Pimiento Cheese:
In a food processor, finely chop the onion, garlic, and jalapeño(s). Place the cheeses and pimiento in a medium bowl. Add the vegetables and mayonnaise and mix well. Season with white pepper. (Makes about 4 cups.)

To assemble the tomatoes:
Remove the stems, then cut the tomatoes in half width-wise. Use a melon baller or teaspoon to gently scoop out pulp. Place upside down on paper towels to drain. Using a teaspoon, gently stuff Jalapeño-Pimiento Cheese into each tomato half. Garnish, if desired.

Related: Appetizer: Tomato and Mozzarella Skewers with Basil Oil

(Images: Robert M. Peacock)

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