Culinary SOS: When APL’s kale salad beats steak

APL kale salad
Watermelon radish rounds add brilliant color to this salad, but any radishes work.
(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

We went with our son and his wife to APL several weeks ago before seeing a play at the Pantages Theatre. They served a wonderful kale salad with a bright lemony dressing. While we had a very good meal, that salad was something everyone mentioned later. If you could get that recipe and publish it, I would love it.

— Nancy Russell, Los Angeles

Chef Adam Perry Lang is known for meat. A barbecue master, Perry Lang wows with smoked short ribs and dry-aged tomahawks and juicy steak sandwiches. So if Nancy said his kale salad stood out, we had to try it. It is, in fact, one of the tastiest kale salads out there.

Crisp radish rounds add a refreshing bite, diced apples bring a tart crunch, and Parmesan cheese gives the whole thing a savory depth. The real surprise, though, is the toasted and rich peanuts, which make the salad satisfying enough to be a meal. You can serve this salad as a side to steaks or on its own.

I can’t say that our server at APL, the Hollywood steakhouse owned by barbecue maestro Adam Perry Lang, exactly talked our table into ordering $300 worth of beef for three people.

Culinary SOS: APL Kale Salad

20 minutes. Serves 6 to 8.


  • 2 bunches lacinato kale (18 ounces), preferably with small leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 watermelon radish, scrubbed and cut into very thin rounds
  • 1 Granny Smith or other tart apple, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus more
  • ¾ cup Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped


  1. Strip the kale leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Wash and dry the leaves well, then cut into very thin slices. You should have about 8 cups.
  2. Transfer the kale to a large bowl. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, then mix and massage the leaves gently with your hands until they start to soften a little. Add the radish, apple, cheese, vinaigrette and olive oil and toss until evenly mixed. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Top with the peanuts and more Parmesan and serve immediately.

Lemon Vinaigrette

10 minutes. Makes about ¾ cup.


  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 5 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
  • 1 to 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup grape seed or other neutral-tasting oil


  1. Combine the garlic, mustard, sugar, honey and salt in a blender. Finely grate the zest of 1 lemon into the blender, then squeeze ⅓ cup juice from the lemon and add to the blender. Use the other lemon for juice if needed.
  2. Purée on high speed until smooth. Turn the speed to medium-high. With the machine running, add the oil in a steady stream and blend until emulsified. Season to taste with salt.

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