It’s not an overstatement to say that executive chef and co-owner Steve Redzikowski’s kale-and-apple salad, on the menus at Oak at Fourteenth in Boulder and Brider and Acorn in Denver, is addictive stuff. It’s been on the menu since day one; at Oak, the kitchen goes through at least 20 pounds of kale every week, all thanks to this one salad.

It’s a simple recipe, but the resulting flavors and textures are outrageous because Redzikowski understands and executes on the proper balance of acid (lemon), salt (cheese), sweet (apples), spice (togarashi), and crunch (candied almonds). In fact, it’s food like this that has earned him a spot on the finalist’s list for this year’s James Beard award for Best Chef, Southwest.

Tune in at 3:00 MDT today (April 4) to watch Redzikowski in the kitchen at Oak at Fourteenth as he shows us the secrets to slicing super-thin kale ribbons, making crunchy candied almonds, and putting the delicious salad together.

Shaved Apple and Kale Salad
Serves 1

3 tablespoons whole almonds
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1½ cups very thinly sliced stemmed lacinato kale (from 1 small bunch)
3 tablespoons grated Parmigian-Reggiano
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend)
1 small Honey Crisp apple, very thinly sliced

  1. To make the candied almonds: Heat the oven to 300° F. Bring the almonds to a simmer in a small pot of water. Immediately strain the almonds, transfer them to a baking sheet (lined with a non-stick baking mat, if you have one), and dust with the sugar.
  2. Bake, stirring after the first 10 minutes and then again after every 5 minutes, until the sugar is hard and caramelized. It should take about 30 minutes.
  3. Let the almonds cool (they’ll crisp as they do), then cut them into quarters.
  4. Toss the kale, cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, togarashi, and apple slices together in a large bowl until well combined. Taste and season with salt, if necessary.

Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.