Entertaining: Pimento Cheese Ball with Salted Pecans

WI Cheese Entertaining Taylor Takes a Taste

by Taylor of Taylor Takes a Taste

Can you guess who this year’s bracket buster will be? Which Cinderella will make a surprise run in this season’s big dance? Whether you are a college basketball novice or a diehard fan, everyone knows that March Madness is the time for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Over the course of three weeks, 68 teams will compete in a tournament to crown this season’s best. So, with three weekends filled with basketball, March is the perfect time to host a tournament watching party. Gather your fellow alumni and friends to celebrate and watch the games together.

In honor of March Madness, I thought it would be fun to throw a party with Wisconsin Cheese dips and spreads based on the four regions of the tournament.

For the South Regional, I created a Pimento Cheese Ball with Salted Pecans—a fun twist on a Southern classic. For the rest of my regional dip recipes and entertaining tips, visit the entertainment section at EatWisconsinCheese.com.

Pimento Cheese Ball with Salted Pecans

by Taylor of Taylor Takes a Taste

Serves 6-8

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups (8 ounces) Wisconsin Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
4 ounces pimentos, drained and chopped
3 ounces softened cream cheese
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated yellow onion
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce such as Tabasco®
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

In a non-stick skillet, melt butter. Add pecans and toast until fragrant, but not burned. Remove from heat and toss in salt. Allow to cool, then chop into medium to small pieces. Set aside.

Put remaining ingredients into a large bowl. With a fork, mix until creamy. Chill for 1 hour. Lay about 12 inches of plastic wrap out on a level surface. Scoop out chilled pimento cheese and form into a ball on top of plastic wrap. Roll cheese ball in chopped pecans, making sure entire surface of ball is covered. Wrap ball tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Before serving, allow the frozen ball to thaw for half an hour. Serve with your favorite crackers, chips or pretzels.