Mastering Pimento Cheese Toasts with Bacon Jam

The magical week of golf is in full swing.  Since 1934, the Masters Tournament in Augusta, GA has been home to some of golf’s greatest moments.  Played among the blooming azaleas, tall pines and beautiful dogwoods, capturing the Green Jacket is one of the most coveted trophies in sports.  

As a pimento cheese maker, the most common question I get around Masters time is related to its famous pimento cheese sandwich.  Oh how I wish the pimento cheese served was Proper Pepper!  Even though the Masters make all of their food in-house, simply serving pimento cheese is good for all of us in the market.  The sandwiches are sold ridiculously cheap and have introduced thousands of non-southerners to the south's southern staple.  That's great marketing for Proper Pepper!

Serving pimento cheese on white loaf bread is indeed the most authentic way to enjoy this famous sandwich, but I'd like to introduce a fancier way...a dish you may consider serving this weekend as you entertain during the final rounds.

Pimento Cheese Toasts with Bacon Jam was published in the most recent edition of The Local Palate magazine, and reproduced from Savor The South cookbook.  The article featured comments from Chef Sean Wight, owner of Frog Hollow Hospitality Group in Augusta.  

We southerners know that bacon is good on ANYTHING!  So why not make a jam with it?

Here is the recipe from The Local Palate along with some *#ProperPeppering tips on making this impressive appetizer yourself.  We would love to hear from you and see photos.

Pimento Cheese Toasts With Bacon Jam

Source:  The Local Palate Magazine, April 2017 edition
(Serves 24)

1 loaf white bread, sliced

1 batch Farmhaus pimento cheese (recipe is in the magazine, which you can forage for yourself, but we recommend Proper Pepper)

1 batch bacon jam (recipe follows)

Toast bread.  Once toasted, use a small biscuit cutter to punch out bite-sized rounds.  Assemble by topping the toasted round with a teaspoon of pimento cheese, then a small dollop of bacon jam.

Frog Hollow Bacon Jam
(yields 1 cup)

1 pound smoked bacon
1 cup finely diced Vidalia onion
1 T minced garlic
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
6 oz. strong black coffee
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar
3 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t ground allspice

Cut bacon into 1-inch pieces.  In a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat, cook bacon, stirring regularly until crispy. Drain off half the bacon fat and reserve for future use.  

Add onions and garlic to pan with remaining fat and cook until onions begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes.  

Add remaining ingredients.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 30-45 minutes.  Stir occasionally, adding water if mixture becomes too thick.

When bacon is tender, remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes.  Transfer bacon mixture to a food processor and pulse in batches to desired consistency.  (Chef Wight and I both prefer it slightly chunky).


#ProperPeppering Tips

1.        Everyone needs an onion chopper/dicer for perfect and easy veggie prepping. 

2.        My bacon, purchased at the local grocery store, was much too fatty.  Go to your local butcher shop and ask for thick-cut smoked bacon.  We suggest any of the following.  You can also pick up your Proper Pepper here too.

The Lodge Meat Market in Sandersville, GA  

Smith Brothers Butcher Shop in Savannah, GA  

Striplings in Bogart, GA

New York Butcher Shoppe in Augusta, GA

3.        The Bacon Jam was much prettier before I pulsed it in the food processor and I think would have been the perfect consistency.  You may consider skipping this step.

4.        The bread rounds are much easier to cut when the bread is fresh.  Try cutting it first, then toasting.  I didn't have the perfect size round cookie cutter, so I improvised with a metal can.

5.        I garnished with kohlrabi micro greens gifted from a friend’s (Tara & Jeffery Cramer) garden.  These micro greens are from the cabbage/broccoli family and are super tasty and healthy.  Their purple stems were so beautiful next to the purple chive blossoms.

On deck:  #ProperPeppering the Perfect Easter Meal from Charleston Receipts

*   #ProperPeppering - A style of southern living that reflects all of the values, interests and characteristics a proper southerner has known since birth, including the love of Proper Pepper Pimento Cheese.