To pair with it, Shaya uses ghee, or clarified butter, to turn up the flavor of a simple cracker. "Ghee can be cooked for longer and at a higher temperature than butter so it will impart the same rich flavor without scorching. Using it to fry the saltines is easy to do and transports a common pantry item into a real showstopper," he says.
"The final dish should have a kick of spice from the pimento peppers, tang from the hot sauce and vinegar and a creamy, spreadable texture," adds Shaya. "A rich, buttery saltine that helps to balance the flavors."
Alon Shaya's Pimiento Cheese with Butter-Crisped Saltine Crackers
8 oz. aged sharp white Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
8 oz. aged sharp yellow Cheddar cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup thinly sliced scallions (from 6 scallions)
1 (4-oz.) jar pimientos, drained and chopped
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. hot sauce
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
½ cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 (4-oz.) sleeve saltine crackers (about 36 crackers)
1. Stir together Cheddar cheeses, mayonnaise, scallions, pimientos, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl until fully combined.
2. Melt ghee in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add saltines to skillet in a single layer. Fry until crisp and golden, about 30 seconds per side. Transfer crackers to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining crackers, adding additional ghee to skillet as needed. Serve crackers with pimiento cheese. (Pimiento cheese can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)
Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes