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Apple Grilled Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Fontina

Apple Grilled Cheese with Smoked Gouda and Fontina

This recipe hails from Vintana restaurant in San Diego, Calif., and pairs the likely combination of apples and nutty cheese for a unique and exciting grilled cheese.


  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 Cup apple cider vinegar
  • Two 1/2-inch brioche
  • 2 slices smoked Gouda
  • 2 slices Fontina
  • Three 1/4-inch slice Granny Smith apples
  • 2 slices cooked apple wood smoked bacon
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon fig jam
  • 1 Ounce clarified butter


Calories Per Serving4608

Folate equivalent (total)1316µg100%

Recipe Summary

  • 8 (8 inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 red apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded Gouda cheese

Preheat a grill for high heat.

Brush oil onto one side of a tortilla, and place on a plate oil side down. Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of mustard on the top side, and top with green onion, apple slices and about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Place a second tortilla on top, and brush the top with olive oil. Repeat with remaining ingredients, stacking the quesadillas on the plate.

Brush the grilling surface with oil, and place the quesadillas carefully on the grill. Grill for about 3 minutes, or until the bottom is crisp. Flip, and grill on the other side until crisp. Remove from the grill to serving plates and cut into quarters. Serve warm.

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How to Select the Best Apples

Once you choose what type of apple you want, in this case, a granny smith apple, how do you select the best? As you pick up the apples, check for the firmness of the apple. If it is soft or indents easily, it may not be the best choice. Also, check for any bruising or decay, and leave those apples behind. Finally, take a big whiff of the apple. That being said, you don’t have to hold it directly up to your nose (unless you want to), and you should be able to smell a light aroma from the apple. If the scent is too strong or unpleasant, the apple is probably on its last leg, or stem, if you will:)

Apple BBQ Pork & Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese

There is nothing like a good grilled cheese sandwich. Not the American cheese slice wrapped in plastic and grilled on white bread, (although those are still pretty good from time to time with tomato soup!) I am talking good crusty bread, good cheese and maybe a little “somethin’ – somethin'” extra? This Apple BBQ Pork & Smoked Gouda Grilled Cheese has a lot of somethin’ extra!

My favorite bread to make grilled sandwiches with is sour dough. Who am I kidding? I think sour dough bread is pure perfection, period! But slather it with butter and grill it? Delicious! We love to make Grilled Turkey Havarti Sandwiches using sour dough, and when I was standing at the bakery trying to decide what to use for this sandwich, I really couldn’t think of anything else that sounded better to me. So, sourdough it is!

Last week when I made Apple Pork Tenderloin in the slow cooker, we had left overs. Don’t get me wrong…it was delicious, I am just trying to figure out how to cook for us now that my oldest son is away at college. I was super happy I had these left overs. A while back I had a similar sandwich to this at a restaurant. I thought it was a sensational concept, and wanted to make one of my own. I kept with the apple and took the left over pork and combined it with some apple juice in a pan on the stove. I re-heated it with the juice and shredded it up. I tossed with with some BBQ Sauce and set it aside until I was ready to grill up the sandwiches.

I coated the outsides of a couple slices of sourdough and grilled them until toasted. That part became the inside of the sandwich. I added the pork and the cheese, sandwiched it together, buttered the outside and grilled until the cheese was melted and the outside was toasted golden brown.

My kids went nuts! This is a really good way to spice up your leftovers!

My most popular recipe is my Dr. Pepper BBQ Pork Ribs! I have a recipe that makes them in the instant pot and one that uses a slow cooker. These sandwiches are my FAVORITE thing to use the leftovers when I make either of these recipes!

Fall apart tender, Instant Pot Dr. Pepper BBQ Pork Ribs are ready to eat in about an hour. Boneless country Style Pork Ribs, prepared in your pressure cooker, then glazed with Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce on your grill or in your oven. Grab the napkins and dig in!

Slow Cooker Dr. Pepper BBQ Ribs are Country Style Pork Ribs, slow cooked in Dr. Pepper, then baked to caramelize the Dr. Pepper BBQ sauce. Only 3 ingredients!

If you are a fan of Gouda Cheese — and I know you are, or you wouldn’t be looking at this smoked gouda grilled cheese in the first place — you just HAVE to try my friend’s recipe for Gouda Mac n Cheese!! You will LOVE it! Pinkie swear!

Enjoy these sandwiches!

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The Best Cheeses For Grilled Cheese, According To People Who Truly Know

While it’s hard to deny the melty perfection of a diner-style grilled cheese sandwich made with slices of American cheese or even Kraft singles, most experts happen to think American cheese is pure garbage.

“It’s not really cheese to me, it’s some kind of weird plastic-y substance that should be banned from the face of the earth,” Heidi Gibson, co-owner of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco, told HuffPost.

While not everyone agrees with that, it’s not the only point of contention when it comes to making a good grilled cheese sandwich. You can use white or wheat bread, and you can slather it with either butter or mayo. You can grate your cheese or you can slice it, or you can get real controversial and put tomatoes in it. But what really matters in a grilled cheese sandwich is the type of cheese you use. And no one agrees on that, either.

But there are professionals who truly know how to turn cheese into magic. When you meet such a person, you should listen to them carefully. We did just that, asking three legendary cheese experts to tell us, in their opinion, the best cheeses for a grilled cheese sandwich.

Heidi Gibson

Gibson is the author of Grilled Cheese Kitchen, winner of seven grilled cheese championships and co-owner (with her husband Nate Pollak) of The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in San Francisco. Here are her top 10 picks:

1. Medium cheddar. This is the mic-drop classic, as far as I’m concerned. Melty, delicious, and with that perfect pull-apart gooeyness. Tillamook is my personal favorite. Aged cheddars are great too, but don’t melt quite as well.

Bonus: Tillamook’s smoked black pepper cheddar. Holy moly is this perfect in a grilled cheese!

2. Fontina. Another beautifully melting cow milk cheese, fontinas range from mild to stinky so there’s one to suit everybody’s taste. I like the stinkier ones (melting cuts the stink, by the way) and like to add a little minced sage and some prosciutto to my fontina grilled cheese.

3. Monterey or Sonoma Jack. Jacks are mild cow milk cheeses and are particularly good for mixing with a stronger-flavored cheese in a grilled cheese (like blue cheese, or Parmesan) so you can get a more interesting flavor but still have a gooey melty texture. Use mostly Monterey Jack and sprinkle on a couple teaspoons of your favorite blue cheese or hard grating cheese on top of Jack for something unique.

4. Gouda. Gouda is one of the world’s oldest known cheeses, and one of the best for grilled cheese. Straight up red-wax gouda (which is young) is fine, but I recommend trying some of the wide variety of variations . smoked gouda, gouda with cumin, goat milk gouda. Aged gouda takes a little longer to melt (it’s harder) so keep the flame low to not burn your bread, but it’s worth trying if you can find it. In the U.S., Marieke Gouda makes some of the best gouda around.

5. Comte. Comte is an unpasteurized French cow’s milk cheese eaten straight or made into fondue. It’s firm and rich, with buttery tones. Try it with a smear of dijon mustard on a sturdy country loaf.

6. Boschetto al Tartufo. This is a specific cheese, and other truffled Italian cheeses are great too, but this one has cow and sheep’s milks and melts beautifully it’s available nationwide in Whole Foods’ cheese dept. I like it in a grilled cheese with thick-sliced smoked bacon and some fresh snipped chives on ciabatta bread.

7. Gruyere and Emmental (lumping together because they are similar). Cheeses traditionally used in dishes similar to grilled cheese are always good options, and gruyere and emmental are both used in Croque-Monsieur (or -Madame), a strong hint you’re on the right track. These can be pretty firm cheeses, so grate them before adding to your sandwich to facilitate melting. If you find the flavor a little strong, mix them with a milder cheese, like Jack or havarti.

8. Toma. Toma is a traditional semi-soft cow milk cheese made in Northern Italy. Flavor varies by producer, but it’s creamy and mild, and a great melter. Point Reyes Creamery in California makes a particularly good version of Toma.

9. Havarti. Creamy havarti is another good one to pair with other cheeses it is relatively soft and buttery, very mild, and children (or people who don’t like any stink in their cheeses) will love it. It melts easily. Try some of the flavored havartis (like dill) for variety.

10. Raclette. This is Swiss cheese you see used in a traditional Swiss dish (and device) also called “raclette” ― you melt the surface of the cheese in front of a fire and scrape it onto bread or potatoes. Of course it’s perfect for melting in a grilled cheese too. It’s got a “Swiss cheese”-type flavor, but more sophisticated.

Kurt Beecher Dammeier

Beecher Dammeier is the founder, CEO and executive chef at Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, which launched in Seattle and has locations nationwide.

1. Aged Cheddar-Gruyere (Beecher’s Flagship). This is the key ingredient of our famous Beecher’s grilled cheese sandwich. The age of the cheddar gives the sandwich a nutty flavor and this “sweet cheddar” style of cheese melts into the bread beautifully. We like to mix in a little Just Jack for some added richness, but going all out with Beecher’s Flagship is not a bad idea either. Prepare for a slightly sharp, decadent sandwich with a smooth, creamy texture.

2. Comte. Comte hails from the Franche-Comte region of eastern France. The semi-firm cheese is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese and is known for its distinct flavor profile. It’s often found melted atop a hearty bowl of French onion soup. I’d suggest pairing it with some rosemary-seasoned caramelized onions or some smoked ham for a delicious grilled cheese à la Française.

3. Monterey Jack (Just Jack). For a classic grilled cheese, you can’t go wrong with Monterey Jack. Our version of this cheese, known as “Just Jack” is a rich, creamy Jack that melts into pure deliciousness. Its full-cream flavor pairs especially well with fruity or spicy preserves and chutneys.

4. Emmental. This traditional style of cheese made in Switzerland is known for its melt-ability. It’s most commonly used in fondue but works equally well between sliced bread. Add a little thinly sliced steak or crisped bacon in between two slices of cheese to round out the slight sweetness of this Swiss cheese. Serve with ample mustard and pickles.

5. Chaource. This soft French cheese has a lot of flavor. It’s salty and earthy, with a slight hint of bitterness. It’s not a typically used in grilled cheese sandwiches but is a fun, indulgent departure. Consider spreading some apricot preserves on a crusty white bread with the creamy cheese and serving it slightly warm (it won’t need much time to get melty). If you can’t find the traditional French version, try Seastack from Mt. Townsend Creamery.

6. Seasoned White Cheddar (Marco Polo). Marco Polo is one of my favorite Beecher’s cheeses. It’s an aged cheddar that’s seasoned with both green and black peppercorns. The peppery notes pair perfectly with roasted turkey or chicken. Add some spicy, pickled peppers (we love Mama Lil’s peppers) and you’ve got yourself a glorious sandwich.

7. Mont D’Or (Winnimere from Jasper Hills, Vermont). This cheese is often warmed in the oven so that the center melts into a perfect gooey mess, ideal for dipping crusty bits of bread. Skip the dipping part and go straight for a sandwich. Both the French version and Jasper Hill’s take are typically available in the winter months― try it with some freshly cracked black pepper and a little cranberry sauce.

8. Muenster (French and German versions will have more stinkiness). The American version of muenster is quite mild. If you want to ramp up the flavor profile a bit, opt for a French or German version that’s been imported (those tend to have more age and thus a more pungent, earthy flavor profile). Either way you go, this cheese will melt into a fine ooze and should be paired with some smoked bacon, and perhaps sautéed onions or apples, and thyme.

9. Garotxa (Spanish Goat). This semi-firm goats milk cheese from Catalan has become really popular, and with good reason it has a round, robust flavor profile and is less acidic than many other goat cheeses. Try pairing it with some thinly sliced pears and prosciutto for an even more flavorful grilled cheese sandwich.

10. Blue cheese (Oregonzola by Rogue Creamery) cut with Swiss (Jarlsberg). Why not be bold and add a little blue to your sandwich? We recommend using a creamy blue, like Oregonzola from Rogue Creamery, and cutting it with a little Swiss or our Just Jack to achieve a creamier texture and slightly milder flavor. This would pair nicely with a dark nutty bread that maybe even has some dried fruit (like raisins or figs) baked into it.

Christine Clark

Clark is the assistant manager of education and events at Murray’s Cheese in New York. She gave us her top six cheeses for grilling in no particular order:

Young goat gouda. Mild, tangy, sweet and toasty. Easygoing and crowd-pleasing. Also a good option for people who have a hard time processing cow’s milk. Lovely with anything tomato-y.

Comte St. Antoine. Perfectly balanced, with a lovely sweetness. It’s the most popular cheese in France for a reason, folks! Excellent with bacon or a floral honey. Or both!

Annelies. My current favorite grilled cheese is Annelies, caramelized onions, thinly sliced pickles and coarse grain mustard on sourdough. Dreamy Annelies is exclusive to Murray’s and is incredible on its own but life-changing in this sandwich.

L’Etivaz. L’Etivaz, which is made using traditional production methods and tastes the way Gruyere tasted hundreds of years ago, is incredible as a grilled cheese with a simple swipe of strawberry jam. A summer day in a sandwich.

Taleggio. Taleggio’s yeasty, egg custardy flavor is made more savory in a grilled cheese, and is delicious with fig jam.

Arzua Ulloa. Arzua Ulloa tastes like string cheese turned into fancy cheese—looks impressive, tastes like your childhood. A very friendly, easy-going cheese, so put it with your favorite sweet or savory pairing and it will be delicious. Membrillo paste is my current fave.

Aged Gouda and Apple Grilled Cheese

My wonderful friends at The Cheese Store of San Diego hooked me up with some awesome aged Duda Gouda! Marci, one of the owners of TCSSD says “…if a Pecorino & Gouda had a baby…this would be it! Its from Wisconsin made by Hooks Cheese Co. and its flavors are sweet & nutty with hints of caramel and grass! Its so good! Melts pretty good too!”

Today is the first day of The Cheese Store of San Diego’s Kickstarter campaign for their brick and mortar store! They’ll have wine, beer, cheese boards galore and all kinds of goodies (maybe even a couple provided by me! stay tuned!). Watch this:

I urge you to support local businesses! Click here for more information on their Kickstarter campaign!

The first things that came to mind when she told me about the characteristics of the cheese were bright, crisp and slightly sour green apples and caramelized onions. I thought the acidity in the apples would cut the richness of the cheese, and the caramelized onions would play off of the caramel and nutty flavors in the Duda gouda.

This really isn’t a recipe where things need to be measured. It’s a grilled cheese. A super awesome grilled cheese. Have you ever measured things for a grilled cheese? Nope, not never.

You’ll need caramelized onions (recipe here), dijon mustard, 1/2″ slices of your favorite bread (I’m using Bread & Cie’s fig and anise loaf), aged Duda gouda and an apple. Not pictured: butter. You mos def need butter.

You’ll need about 1/4lb of aged gouda. That’s enough for two sandwiches + snacking while the sandwich is cooking.

Thinly slice 1/2 of an apple. Eat the other half with any leftover cheese you may have.

Butter two slices of bread and set them aside.

Add a thin schmear of dijon mustard on the other two slices of bread. You don’t need much.

Place the bread with the mustard in a pan with melted butter, mustard side up, over medium heat.

Top both pieces of bread with caramelized onions. Maybe a tablespoon? It’s up to you. Don’t go too heavy or it will overpower the cheese.

Add 4-5 slices of apple on top of the onions.

Add the grated gouda on top of the apples.

Don’t worry about the cheese spilling over the sides of the bread – in fact, you WANT some of the cheese in the skillet. That’s where the magic happens, actually. Just scoot any cheese that lands in the skillet toward the bread.

Top with the buttered slices of bread – butter side up.

At this point, you want to walk away for a couple minutes to let the bread get nice and toasty. This is the time where you snack on whatever apple and cheese is left so you’re not tempted to futz with the sandwich.

Flip once the bread has browned nicely, about 4-5 minutes.

Remember that cheese that fell into the pan? Now it’s burnty cheese deliciousness. Burnty cheese bits on bread is like, in my top 10 favorite things EVOOR.

Once the other side is browned and the cheese is nice and melty, you’re done.

Cut the sandwiches on a bias. Because sandwiches always taste better when cut in half diagonally.

mmmm. And look at those delicious figs in the bread! So good.

I ate this with some veggie chips. It would also go great with a light arugula or spinach salad.

I realized about 3 bites in that this dish was unintentionally vegetarian. My, my… how times have changed… *pats self on back, wonders why she didn’t add bacon*

Aged Gouda and Apple Grilled Cheese

makes 2 sandwiches in about 15 minutes


4 slices of bread, about 1/2″ slices

1/4 lb of aged gouda, coarsely grated
1/4 cup caramelized onions* (see note below)
1/2 green apple, thinly sliced (I like Granny Smith)
dijon mustard

Butter two slices of bread and set them aside. Spread a thin layer of dijon mustard on the other two slices.

In a large skillet, melt about 1-2 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Place the bread with the dijon mustard in the skillet, mustard side up. Top each slice with caramelized onions (1-2 tbsp), 4-5 slices of apple and the cheese. It’s okay if some of the cheese spills off of the sandwich and into the pan – in fact, it’s preferred. Just nudge that melted cheese at the bottom of the skillet toward the bread. Top with the remaining two slices of bread, butter side up.

After 4-5 minutes, flip. Let the other side brown for an additional 4-5 minutes, until bread is toasty and cheese is melty. Cut on the bias and enjoy! Pair it with some veggie chips or a salad.

The recipe for the caramelized onions makes way more than you need for these sandwiches. You can either cut the recipe in half or make the full recipe and throw them on anything.

8 Best Cheeses For Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

1. Medium Cheddar

Ah, the grilled cheese standard. There&aposs a reason for that! Medium cheddar is balanced, properly melty, and endlessly customizable. Add some hot sauce! Add some apple slices! Add some fresh herbs! It&aposs all excellent.

2. Raclette

If you&aposve been on the internet anytime in the past few years, you&aposve likely seen the melty cheese being melted over meat, bread, potatoes. That&aposs raclette, and it&aposs both a cheese and a dish.

The dish dates back to when shepherds would carry hunks of cheese with them to melt onto bread over the fire for their dinner. The cheese is meaty and rich, with a hunt of funk that fades when it&aposs melted. Throw a few slices of cooked bacon onto your raclette grilled cheese sandwich and thank us later.

3. Young Unsmoked Gouda

Gouda melts as well as your standard cheddar, but offers a tad more sweetness. No, there&aposs no sugar (all the milk sugar, known as lactose, in milk essentially vanishes in the cheesemaking process), but its unique make process imparts sweeter flavors to the cheese.

If you like your grilled cheese with jam or honey, make it with young gouda for a real "gouda" time (sorry). Aged gouda is wonderful for its crystalline texture and butterscotch flavor, but the young stuff melts much better.

4. Organic American Slices

The con of American cheese slices: it&aposs basically fake cheese, only 25 to 30 percent cheese, plus filler. The pro of American cheese slices: it&aposs delicious and the holy grail cheese for grilled cheese.

Meet yourself halfway, and buy the organic version that can be found at Trader Joe&aposs. You get that wonderfully fake cheesy flavor and a goopy melt but are supporting better farming practices by going organic. Wins all &aposround.

5. Fontina Val D'Aosta

This is not the Fontina you&aposre thinking of. Coming from the unpasteurized milk of the Valdaostan Red Spotted cows who graze in Italy near the Swiss Alps, this cheese is savory, complex, and has been made here since the 12th century.

It may not be your go-to for a cozy midnight grilled cheese, but if you&aposre looking to upgrade your dinner grilled cheese, consider this historic Italian melter. Add some saut mushrooms for extra umami.

6. Pepper Jack

Pepper Jack is uber melty and will up your grilled cheese ante with a hint of spice. If you can find Maple Leaf Pepper Jack from Wisconsin, their version includes fresh peppers rather than dry, imparting the fruitiness of the peppers as well as the spice. Cabot also makes a Habanero cheddar with taco seasoning if you want more heat and a more Southwest-inspired flavor.

7. Taleggio

Yeasty, meaty Taleggio has a sort of egg custard vibe that gets even more divinely savory on a grilled cheese sandwich. Add slow-roasted tomatoes or artichoke hearts for a more Italian panini feel. Or, take it in a more dessert-y direction with a smear of fig jam.

8. Comté

France&aposs answer to Gruyère (also awesome on a grilled cheese, incidentally), Comté is more hazelnutty and nuanced than its rich, brothy Swiss cousin. Think of it as a hug hello from your grandmother, as opposed to being mobbed by your family&aposs new puppy. Both are great, but sometimes you need the more comforting hug-like flavors of Comté. For extra richness, add a drizzle of a dark honey like buckwheat or chestnut.

How to Make Grilled Chicken, Apple, and Gouda Sandwich

Heat a tabletop grill (I used a George Foreman) as the manufacturer recommends. Season the chicken breast cutlets on both sides with the seasoning blend. Place the cutlets on the grill and cook until golden brown and cooked through.

While the cutlets grill, toast the bread. Mix the mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. Spread each of the slices of toasted bread with the mayo-mustard mixture. Top with a grilled chicken breast cutlet, 2 slices of Sargento Gouda cheese, ¼ of the apple slices, and ½ cup of salad leaves.

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