Dipping down south

As Harvest Pizzeria continues to expand its mini empire, the growing chain customizes menus to offer a few different items that fit the overall vibe and customer base for each new location. But one Southern-inspired appetizer maintains its signature spot: the Pimento Cheese Dip.

Executive chef John Franke runs the Clintonville kitchen, which boasts Harvest's largest menu. In his take on this classic, he swaps out the namesake pepper for oil-marinated Calabrian chilies. He prefers them for their sweet and savory flavor (they're also a favorite on Harvest's pizza, lending a nice heat). In another twist, the cheese is a blend of cheddar and Parmesan, bound together with both Greek yogurt and mayonnaise, the latter house-made in line with Harvest's philosophy to make as many of its own ingredients as possible.

While the dip itself stays the same, the accompaniments change seasonally, currently featuring house-made grilled sourdough alongside bread and butter pickles. Carnivores can add charcuterie in the form of spicy capicollo and salame Toscano.

Harvest's Pimento Cheese Dip

Total Time: 15 minutes, plus chilling

Yield: Approximately 3 cups

Ingredients:

8 ounces shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese 4 ounces Greek yogurt 4 ounces mayonnaise 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper 1 tablespoon minced Calabrian chilies 1/4 cup minced roasted red peppers 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

In a food processor, combine first seven ingredients, pulsing just enough to leave a chunky texture.

Empty processed ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

Fold in roasted red peppers and grated Parmesan cheese.

Refrigerate immediately.

Serve with fresh-cut vegetables, crackers or toast.

Insider tip:

The dip is also a favorite Harvest burger topper, with those in the know ordering the “turkey burger the old way.”