Granted, this is a simple, quick, easy recipe. However, this is one of my family's favourite comfort foods. I created this recipe based on something I had eaten at a local cafeteria almost 25 years ago. The cafeteria used canned peas and cubed processed cheese. I prepared it for a potluck holiday lunch for work, and then prepared it for my family Thanksgiving dinner. From that point forward, it has become a family favourite and no family dinner is complete without it. Friends and coworkers have asked me to prepare it for them. The thawed frozen peas are what makes this salad. They just kind of pop in your mouth. Even people who normally don't eat peas (or other green vegetables, for that matter) will eat this salad and have multiple servings. I have varied it a bit over the years, sometimes adding diced hard-boiled eggs and/or cooked baby shrimp. Sometimes, I add fresh basil or mint. This recipe tastes great fresh but is even better if prepared the day before which allows the flavours to blend more. Because everyone so loves this salad, rarely are there leftovers, even when I double the recipe...LOL!
In a medium mixing bowl, gently stir together peas, pimientos, pickle relish, onion, salt and pepper. Add cheese and 3/4 cup mayonnaise; fold together just until ingredients are moistened, adding more mayonnaise as needed. Place salad in serving bowl. If desired, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons cheese and paprika over top to garnish.
Notes: This salad can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Garnish just before serving. No, the peas are NOT cooked; they just need to be thawed to facilitate easy mixing. [This is usually the first question asked when I give out this recipe.]