Kindergarten is a weird place, guys.

I was reminded of this yesterday when a licensed physician flipped my eyelids out. On purpose.


And then when I came thisclose to puking all over his expensive eye exam equipment was like, “Oh, you didn’t do this when you were five?”

Uh, no. Obviously not.


While we’re at it, I also didn’t crack my knuckles, cross my eyes, or have any double jointed abilities.  And my mother never let me play with Play-doh.

I think that probably explains a lot.

Anyways, what I learned from this experience is that, when looking back, the things that you thought were kind of cool in kindergarten…are actually kind of gross in real life.  (And that next time you should take a valium before going to the ophthalmologist. But that’s another story for another day.)

Except for grilled cheese.

Grilled cheese. Is. Timeless.

I love it stuffed with American cheese and tomatoes (classic).  I love it stuffed with straight up cheddar (also classic).  AND I love this more adult version that I’ve created, which is stuffed with caramelized leeks, apples and gruyere. The leeks become almost buttery in the way of caramelized onions, which is complimented perfectly by the tart apples and the nutty melty heavenly cheese.

And pulling it out at your next holiday fiesta is a way cooler party trick than any of this eyelid flipping business (gag).  That is, given that you’re a female above the age of fourteen or a male above the age of twenty three.  Though really, given The.Boy.’s reaction (something along the lines of “oh man, that is so AWESOME”)…I’m not sure they ever grow out of it.


Apple, Leek and Gruyere Grilled Cheese
Serves 4, inspired by a leek and apple gratin in Ripe but largely an Eats Well With Others Original


  • 4 large leeks, white and light green parts only, quartered lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp butter, plus more for the bread
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, unpeeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 8 oz Gruyere, shredded
  • 1 loaf good hearty bread (I used a rosemary-infused loaf from Whole Foods)


  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Rinse the leeks well, separating them into layers and washing each. Blanch them in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain them and run them under cold water for a minute or so.  Dry well with paper towels. Chop the cooked leeks into smaller, more bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large nonstick saucepan, heat the butter and the olive oil until melted.  Add the leeks and nutmeg to the pan, then season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cook over medium heat until the leeks are caramelized and starting to brown in places, about 5 minutes.  Add in the apple slices and saute until they are soft, another 4 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  4. Place 1/4 of the leek/apple mixture on one slice of bread. Top with some of the shredded Gruyere.. Place another slice of bread on top to form a sandwich.  Using a thin pat of butter, lightly butter each side of the sandwich.  Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat.  Add sandwich to the skillet, pressing it down with a spatula as it cooks, about 2-3 minutes on each side or until the cheese is melted and the outsides are crusty.

I am submitting this to Souper Sundays which is hosted by Deb of Kahakai Kitchen!

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
Share →

82 Responses to Apple, Leek and Gruyere Grilled Cheese

  1. Oh man. This seriously looks like the perfect adult grilled cheese!!

  2. Simply Life says:

    haha, so glad you survived the process- yes, it is true, the grossest things were often the coolest…

  3. GAH! My father would not be happy. Despite having dissected cadavers, he has a weird thing with eyes and gets freaked out.

    Anyway, loving this grilled cheese! So comforting and yet so sophisticated.

  4. Caitlin says:

    Yum!! Need to go out and buy me some leeks!

  5. “kind of cool in kindergarten…are actually kind of gross in real life”
    Its amazing how our view change over time. Makes me think about brussel sprouts and similar things:)

  6. Mary Younkin says:

    This looks AMAZING. I adore apples in grilled cheese and caramelized leeks sound like the perfect addition!

  7. Danielle says:

    I have a lot of rules before the play doh can be pulled out in our house – I get where your mom was coming from 🙂

  8. SallyBR says:

    When you are the shortest (by a long shot) kid in the whole school (and that situation is unchanged as you go through the years and younger kids arrive 😉 you can bet that my younger years were miserable… the teasing, the endless teasing.

    oh, well – agree with you, grilled cheese sandwich cures all

  9. This looks amazing!! I love grilled cheese and there are very few things that can improve on a classic, but I think you’ve found one of them 🙂

  10. Foodycat says:

    The eyelid flipping is awful – worst part of my annual eye exam! This is a great take on the grilled cheese though.

  11. You are to funny! What I remember form kindergarten was my Mom giving me bologna and butter sandwiches on Wonder Bread! Talk about sticking to the roof of your mouth! So gross! Now your sandwich sounds amazing! I love apples and cheese together in a grilled hceese, but I never thought of using leeks! This is one sandwich to try!

  12. Always looking for a new grilled cheese variation, since they seem to be our lunches of choice on weekends 🙂 This one sounds delicious!

  13. Amy says:

    Oh, you should see when I take Haley to school…we usually get there 15 minutes early so she can play with her friends (which really means “master the monkey bars”) – and while they wait for the teacher, they sit on their squares and trade girlie stuff and sing these silly rhymes. The other moms and I look at each other and say, “Omg. That’s so 1st grade.” It’s definitely a trip down memory lane. (Although does not make me feel younger. I’ll be 43 next week *sob*)

  14. Pam says:

    Eye flipping – yuk….grilled cheese – yum.

  15. Karis says:

    Excellent timing, I just got leeks in my CSA box last night and I always have Gruyere on hand because I love it.

  16. Deeeeelicous. But seriously never crossed your eyes????

  17. Ive made brie + apple grilled cheese, but never gruyere + apple. Need this in my life, now!

  18. Oh dang, this looks delicious. I never thought to combine apples with leeks (leeks are pretty new to me). You’re right, grilled cheese will never go out of style!

  19. Big Dude says:

    I would not have thought of the apple, but that is a great looking grilled cheese.

  20. london bakes says:

    This sandwich sounds incredible Joanne, leeks & cheese is one of my favourite combinations and I love the idea of the apple in there too. Perfect!

  21. Shannon says:

    this sounds awesome!! and i hate getting my eyes dilated… but i do crack my knuckles 😛

  22. Jessie says:

    Omg, I read the second sentence of your post and had an immediate visceral reaction that involved stomach churning and involuntary covering of the eyes. For me, turning the eyelids inside out was not cool in kindergarden, and isn’t cool now *shudder* However, my ophthalmologist father-in-law would think it’s hilarious. Maybe it’s an eye-doctor thing?

    The awesomeness of grilled cheese will never fade, however, especially when you modern it up with apple and gruyere – one of the best combos ever!

  23. I am a complete fool for grilled cheese sandwiches. These look fabulous!

  24. I’ve never met a grilled cheese I didn’t like. I’ve never made one with gruyere…but it sounds incredible!

  25. Pam says:

    Why wouldn’t your mom let you play with play-doh?

    Anyway, the grilled cheese looks AMAZING!

  26. Cathleen says:

    Haha, that is EXACTLY what my eye doctor did to me last week!! Weird, it has never happened to me before, and I freaked out a little.

    And I am in love with any kind of melted cheese on sandwiches. These look great!

  27. Yum! I love how kids just eat what they like… which for me was macaroni and cheese… completely different than what I eat now. HA! 😛

  28. sandra says:

    I love your grilled cheese version. Oh how I wish I could eat grilled cheese with unabated abandon, alas I must refrain. My arteries thank me.

  29. Eileen says:

    I will totally agree that the eyelid thing is DISGUSTING. Bleah. But this sandwich can definitely make up for it! 🙂 Hot crispy cheesy gooey action!

  30. You crack me up. I would have barfed too. Bloody knuckles – also a RIDICULOUSLY awful game that kids think is funny. This sandwich looks de-lish.

  31. Karen says:

    Perfect sandwich… love those flavors together.

  32. Guru Uru says:

    What a beautiful flavourful sandwich my friend 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  33. i love leeks & apples together. and with cheese??? even better!

  34. I never did that either and would have been on the verge of nausea too. Your sandwich is dreamy! I love love it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  35. Grilled cheese is definitely timeless..and this version? aaaaggghhhhhh. (otherwise known as ohemgeeyum)!

  36. Beth says:

    Coincidentally, I also had an ophthalmologist appointment today. Fortunately no eyelids were flipped. I am way beyond the age of 14 and not good with that kind of thing!

  37. That Girl says:

    I can’t handle grilled cheese with American cheese, but otherwise I am all in!

  38. Oh, I do love a grilled cheese. My family did not cook – like ever, really, but my grandmother would make grilled cheese for me after school with cheap white bread and processed cheese. These days, I tend to make my grilled cheese a bit more sophisticated, but still with all the comfort. I love the idea of this combination!

  39. Christine says:

    Gross! The eyelid thing, not the sandwich. It sounds heavenly, the sandwich not the eyelid thing. So glad neither the ophthalmologist nor the retina specialist of the last few months had to do this, I too, would have gagged. The numbing and dilating drops were bad enough! Are the eyes okay? Hopefully!

  40. Aaaaaaaaaand I’ve figured out what I’m doing on Saturday afternoon while my husband is playing poker in Tahoe. Perfect.

  41. Tandy says:

    Despite having just had breakfast my stomach is grumbling over the photo. Having your eyelids fiddled with is gross!

  42. Holy heck, this looks fabulous! I love apple and cheddar grilled cheese, but I’m sure those leeks really put this over the top! I didn’t flip my eyelids, crack my knuckles or have double jointed abilities when I was a kid either, but I did play with play dough! I need to get back into that…that stuff is freaky.

  43. Wow, what a wonderful version of grilled cheese. Thanks Joann

  44. I can taste the combination already! Looks like a great sandwich. I’m thinking soup and sandwiches today 🙂

  45. Dining Alone says:

    I was just discussing the awesomeness of grilled cheese with a friend yesterday. Always a great meal and this looks amazing.

  46. Claudia says:

    One of my very favorite lunches, and yours is so over the top gourmet it could be served to royalty. Easily.

  47. LOL that list of gross things kids do had me totally cringing! Really, kids are super gross.
    And yes, grilled cheese is timeless.

  48. daphne says:

    I totally forgot to try a grilled cheese sandwich while I was in NYC! I should have asked u to make one like that for me! LOL This looks amazingly filling and delish Joanne! Good for cold weather I bet. Apple and cheese will go so well and I bet the leek just adds texture and have an onionly feel. mmmm… i’m hungry.

  49. Gloria says:

    these grilled cheese look absoluteky delicious!!

  50. Hannah says:

    Those photos are positively drool-worthy! Normally I wouldn’t be so keen on apple in a savory sandwich… But I trust your intuition here, so I think I’m gonna have to try it. Now that I can make vegan Gruyere after all (!) I really can’t not.

  51. Elizabeth says:

    I’ve made grilled cheese with caramelized onions. I bet leeks would be even better. Yum!

  52. Adam Burke says:

    That grilled cheese looks amazing!

  53. Adam Burke says:

    That grilled cheese looks amazing!

  54. Adam Burke says:

    That grilled cheese looks amazing!

  55. Sammie says:

    Joanne! You’re so adorable! I love how you connected kindergarten days to grilled cheese sandwich! Haha.. And yes i definitely agree that it’s timeless! 🙂

  56. Mmm apples and cheese! So tasty and nostalgic. Love the addition of leeks!

  57. Yes, please. Everything about this grilled cheese sounds amazing!

  58. Lynn says:

    That sounds delish – and looks that way, too. I’ve never had an eye doctor flip my eyelids out – that sounds painful.

  59. Astra Libris says:

    Omg this looks divine… I love all things leeks…

  60. Love your combination of flavors in this tasty looking grilled cheese, Joanne!

  61. OMG. This one is destined to become a classic. Gruyere cheese comes from the angels. One of my fave cheese of all time.

  62. You always come up with beautiful combinations…this looks great!

  63. grace says:

    what an ingenious sandwich! i love the combination, joanne, and that bread looks so tasty!

  64. Chris says:

    No gooey american cheese and mayo, I like it!

    Ewww, what’s wrong with your eyelids, you freak? 😉

  65. Apples and gruyere is such a wonderful combination and the addition of the leeks only makes it better–great combining! Thanks for sharing it with Souper Sundays! 😉

  66. Reeni Pisano says:

    The combination sounds utterly delectable! I’m up to my eyeballs in apples right now. Heehee. And completely scared to go to my eye dr in a few weeks! Eww. And ouch. Comfort me with grilled cheese.

  67. Kevin says:

    Now that is one nice looking grilled cheese!

  68. Esi says:

    Yeah, this is absolutely the kind of grilled cheese I crave in my older years.

  69. JasmyneTea says:

    Ok, I’ve heard of cheese and leek, but cheese, leek and APPLE??? It’s so crazy, it just might work 🙂

  70. Yup that pretty much looks amazing. Hello today’s lunch!

  71. Yeah, I was never into the “flipping eyelids” thing though, although I was double jointed.

    And yes, grilled cheese is timeless. I love the apples in this, and I never get to have leek as much as I want to so this here is absolute perfection!

  72. Natalie says:

    bookmarked! these will be made sometime this winter!

  73. I am all over that sandwich! Deelicious!

    Just found out I won a couple for Pom Arils from you giveway. Thank you!!

  74. Johanna GGG says:

    This is just what I want for supper on Christmas night and every night in fact – sounds delicious – I agree that cheese toasties are classic – it is one of our easy lunches but not as fancy as yours

  75. Roz P. says:

    Darn. . . we just ate dinner on a chilly, wet Carolina evening. Grilled cheese and roasted tomato soup . . . as you say: classic. But no where as exciting as your grilled sammie with the apples and gruyere. Wouldn’t you know it, I had both ingredients on hand (no leeks though) and could have experienced a new grilled cheese high if I had read this post in time!

    Will do the next grilled cheese night!!!!!

  76. Laura says:

    I LOVE grilled cheese. This one looks like so much fun, I ought to experiment more often (I am a cheddar on 100% whole grain 99% of the time). And, uhm, UGH I have never flipped my eyelids out, nor, to my knowledge, have my children. <>

  77. Haha I remember heaps of kids used to be bale to do that at school. I could never do it although recently when I had something in my eye for a whole day, the Dr did the same to me. I had never known what it felt like before. I’m glad now that I cant do it. It feels horrible!

  78. Ursa says:

    love this combo and it suits perfect into my metabolic balance program!

  79. […] from An Edible Mosaic Deb’s Kale Salad with Apple Cranberries and Pecans from Cookie and Kate Apple, Leek and Gruyere Grilled Cheese from Joanne Eats Well With […]

  80. […] Apple, Leek, and Gruyere on Rosemary-Infused Italian […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *