(Gluten-free, soy-free)

Makes 6-8 servings

Gorgeous, vibrant-red blood oranges have a short season, so enjoy them when they appear in markets during mid-to-late winter. This salad, with its compelling blend of textures, flavors, and colors, makes a wonderful starter to a romantic dinner, or any meal where you want a wow factor. The candied almonds add a special touch, but this salad is delicious with plain sliced or slivered almonds, too. Another Chef Sara Boan recipe from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s Compassionate Cuisine program.

Ingredients

For the vinaigrette:

½ cup blood orange juice (from 1-2 blood oranges)

1 teaspoon blood orange zest

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons maple syrup

½ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¾ cup olive oil

For the candied almonds:

1 teaspoon refined coconut oil

½ cup sliced almonds

1 tablespoon sugar

For the salad:

3 blood oranges, peeled and seeds removed, cut into sections

1 fennel bulb, fronds and stalks discarded, bulb cored and thinly sliced

8 ounces mixed salad greens, washed and dried

 

Directions

  1. First, make the vinaigrette. In a medium bowl, whisk together the blood orange juice, zest, shallot, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil and continue whisking until the dressing is thoroughly emulsified. (Alternatively, place all the ingredients in a pint-sized Mason jar and shake vigorously until thoroughly emulsified.) Set aside until needed.
  2. To make the candied almonds, cover a baking pan with parchment or a silicone baking mat and set aside. (The almonds will cool here, so have this ready first.) Heat the coconut oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, and add the almonds, stirring frequently until they smell toasty. Sprinkle with the sugar, and continue to stir until the sugar has caramelized and the almonds are golden brown, which will take only a couple minutes. Immediately transfer the almonds to the prepared baking sheet and use two forks to separate the almonds. Allow to cool completely.
  3. To assemble the salad, place the greens in a bowl and toss gently with roughly half of the vinaigrette until the leaves are evenly and lightly coated. For each serving, portion some of the greens onto a plate, top with a scattering of fennel and a few blood orange sections, and drizzle on a little more vinaigrette. Sprinkle with a few candied almonds and serve immediately.