Smoked Salmon and Gruyere Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Toasty grilled Gruyere Swiss cheese sandwich with smoked salmon and Meyer lemon.

  • Yield: Makes 4 sandwiches.


  • 1/2 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 slices French bread
  • 4 ounces smoked salmon
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, sliced or shredded
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
  • Butter


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1 In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add a half teaspoon of salt. When the salt has dissolved, add the slices of lemon to the pan, layering them down flat in the pan. Let water boil away until it is almost all gone and there is just a thin syrup left in the pan. Do not stir while cooking. Remove from heat.

2 Heat a large cast iron pan on medium high heat. While the pan is heating, arrange the sandwiches (next step).

2 Lay out 4 slices of bread. On top of them layer slices of smoked salmon, cheese, and chives. Use a fork to lift the lemon slices out of the pan and add one large lemon slice to each sandwich. Top with a second layer of bread.

3 Butter the top bread slices generously with butter. Once the pan is hot, place the sandwiches in the pan, butter side down. Lower the heat to medium. Let cook for a few minutes until the bottom of the sandwiches are well toasted.

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4 Butter the top side of the sandwiches in the pan. Use a metal spatula to flip the sandwiches over. Press down on the sandwiches with the metal spatula. Let cook until the bottom of the sandwiches is nicely browned. If the cheese isn't melting, turn the heat to low, cover the pan and let cook for a few minutes more.

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  • merd

    Man oh man!

    I did a slightly modified version… but it was delicious! I got a ‘whole clove artisan bread’ with a nice thick crust and almost sourdough-like interior and sliced it fairly thin considering this is a bread I would normallt rip a hunk off and dip in some olive oil. I also used a whipped sweet cream buttermilk butter. Last, when I saw the gruyere at the store, I was unimpressed with the selection at this particular chain, but as I got hungrier by the second decided on a nice soft Wisconsin white cheddar.

    These thinly sliced lemons in caramelized syrup are incredible and this sandwich is fantastic. I am glad I got the white cheddar because the flavors are still complex and all very mild at the same time. The garlic cloves get all toasty and blend delicately with the other flavors. I may make a second sandwich tonight… and may even try using a nice zesty pepper-jack sometime soon.

    I steamed some frozen french cut green beans and am having a double hopped microbrew IPA with this meal and can’t think of a better combination at the time. I know, I’m a geek. I don’t care. This is delicious! Muchas gracias!

  • Weiwen Ng

    I just did these with preserved lemons made from regular lemons. It was very, very good. However, I am going to get a bunch of Meyer lemons when they’re in season and preserve them.

  • Lynda

    I have a thing for smoked salmon and cheese. I love these and the lemon is wonderful with it.

    One of my favorites is an open faced toasted bun topped with smoked salmon and OKA cheese slices…

    You melt them under the broiler and serve with thinly sliced avocado and fresh dill

  • julie

    I live in NH–where does one find Meyer lemons? This recipe intrigues me.

    You might be able to find preserved lemons at a specialty market. Meyer lemons are grown where they grow other lemons, definitely not in New Hampshire. ;-) They come in season in the winter months. Whole Foods may carry them when they are in season. ~Elise

  • Dana

    I’ve made this twice now for parties. Both were huge hits! And really easy to make.

  • Lindsay

    I don’t have access to meyer lemons – looks that I am not alone. I wonder if you could use pulp free orange juice instead of water to boil regular lemon slices? Or maybe half juice/half water just to make the lemons taste kind of like meyer lemons? Plus maybe a little bit of sugar in the water? I will have to experiment. I will post the results.

  • Life Less Plastic

    I already ate dinner, but this looks so amazing that I want to head right over to the store right now and buy the ingredients. I love gruyere. It’s my absolutely favorite cheese. Oh and also, the sandwich sounds so spring-ish, and, as I’ve told my co-workers, I’m trying to single-handedly bring about spring by wearing lots of skirts and dresses lately. Maybe if I make this sandwich, it will actually get warm around here.

  • Cate O'Malley

    With a flavor combination like that, you can’t go wrong – looks divine!

  • Dennis

    You forgot the chives!! Thanks for the call out.

    Best – Dennis

  • Tony

    Substitute salmon with tuna, gruyere with goat cheese, and french bread with a poppy seed bagel. Add panchetta, also.

  • michelle @ TNS

    There’s a little near my apartment that serves this exact sandwich! I’ve never eaten it because I have a weird gruyere thing, but my husband can attest to its tastiness.

  • merd

    Simple yet sophisticated cuisine. I am making this for sure. Thanks!

  • melissa

    oh my lord. *slurp* that’s a very “me” sandwich. wow.

    I used your basic steamed artichoke recipe last night elise. I think that’s the 6th recipe I’ve used from this site so far. many, many thanks.

  • Madam Chow

    Elise, in the past couple of weeks I’ve used your recipes for preserved lemons, for orange marmalade, and for candied orange peel. I’d like to tell your readers that ALL the recipes were a resounding success! I just blogged about the first two, and will soon blog about the candied rind. I love your blog!

  • Hank

    Fish and cheese…in the same dish? Blasphemy! Sorry Elise, I fall in with the Italians on this one.

  • Marjorie

    Yum! Any guidance for making a preserved lemon confit? Thanks! Marjorie

  • Amy

    I love experimenting with grilled cheese sandwiches! This one looks amazing!

  • PaniniKathy

    Looks terrific! I’ve been contemplating making a smoked salmon panini, and I think Gruyere would be a great accompaniment – I’m going to give it a try! It might be good with challah bread…

  • Todd

    Just curious.. What is the difference between a lemon and a ‘Meyer lemon’?

    A Meyer lemon is a cross between an orange and a regular lemon. They tend to be sweeter and their peels are mild. ~Elise

  • Annie

    Do you take the lemon slices out of the sandwich before serving?

    No, you serve the sandwich with a slice of lemon in it. ~Elise

  • Alyssa

    That sandwich looks so good! I can’t wait to try it. I don’t know if I can find Meyer lemons in my area, though. Can I substitute regular lemons?

    Try it and let us know how it works for you. ~Elise

  • Garrett

    Dear Lord, I still dream of that sammich. Seriously, we made this at home a month ago. It is the best grilled cheese ever. EVER.

  • LiberalFoodie

    I’ve made a grilled cheesed with smoked salmon and gruyere (on different instances) but never with boiled lemons. What a fabulous idea! thanks for sharing.

  • jennbec

    Wow, Elise, that looks really good. I am a huge fan of unqiue grilled cheese sandwiches. I happen to really enjoy salty cheese and plums in mine. :-)

  • Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)

    Of course now I’ll encourage you to make preserved lemons! It takes all of five minutes to make the seven-day lemons, and they’ll last in the refrigerator for up to a year. Here’s an easy recipe:

  • trish

    Lemon? Gruyere? Smoked Salmon? How could a person go wrong with that combination? I may have to try this this week-end for a late breafast-early lunch. It looks lucious!


  • Mike

    Sounds easy to make, very tasty, and most importantly, a place where I can use my preserved lemons!