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Mandarin Orange Almond Salad

Spring Mix / Baby Lettuces
15 oz can mandarin oranges packed in juice, drained
Caramelized sliced almonds

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbl parsley
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper

To caramelize almonds:
Heat 2/3- 3/4 cup of sugar over med to high heat. Stir CONSTANTLY until it dissolves completely. Toss 1 cup of almonds into dissolved sugar until they are well coated. Put on wax paper until cool. Break up into pieces. (Cleaning tip – immediately wash pan and spatula in very hot water. Sugar will melt for easier clean-up.)
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I made a variation of this last night following cometspider’s recipe as a general guideline. I used what I had on hand and it was very good. I Substituted baby spinach for the spring mix, sliced strawberries for the mandarin oranges, and a few dashes of Tabasco red pepper sauce for the crushed red pepper.

Thanks for the cleaning tip. It works quite well.
When caramelizing the nuts, you don't want to stir the sugar when it is dissolving and cooking to the proper temperature. Stirring will cause it to crystallize. Once you get the nuts in the pan, then keep stirring. This is the point where you want crystallization.

If the nuts start to smoke, then the heat is too high. Take them off the heat and stir until the smoke dissipates and then put back on at a slightly lower temp.

Stir in just a bit of cocoa butter at the end (regular butter will do in a pinch) and it will keep the nuts nicely separated.

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