Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Citrus salad with candied almonds

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Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them and cook up a feast.

During the month of January, Marczyk's is doing a superfood push, which, says Barb, "makes most people think of wheatgrass. And that, she insists, is not food. "The superfoods we want people to try," she says, "include nuts, citrus, avocado, sardines, black beans, wild-caught salmon, olive oil, quinoa, dried porcini mushrooms and dark chocolate -- see, not so bad, and certainly not monastic." Today's recipe, an orange, avocado and almond salad from the kitchen of Sue Burleigh, the mom of Marczyk's produce manager, is "a quick, light and healthy salad that's perfect for taking advantage of the variety of available winter citrus."

Citrus Salad with Candied Almonds
Serves four to six

Ingredients:

½ cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 head romaine or red leaf lettuce, rinsed and loosely chopped
½ cup celery, rinsed and thinly sliced
3 whole green onions, rinsed and sliced (save one onion for topping at the end)
1 or 2 oranges (either Clementine 'Cuties', Red Navel oranges or Sunburst tangerines) split into segments. Remove as much pith as possible.

Dressing:

½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup light olive oil
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Dash of Tabasco sauce

Directions:

1. In a small pan over medium heat, cook almonds and sugar, stirring constantly until almonds are coated and the sugar is dissolved. Watch carefully as they can burn easily. Cool almonds on parchment or wax paper. Almonds can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container.
2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar, and shake thoroughly until all sugar is dissolved. Adjust for seasoning.
3. Mix lettuce, celery, green onions and orange segments in a large bowl. Toss with the dressing.
4. Divide the salad equally on plates and top with almonds and slivers of green onion.

For more from Pete, Barbara and Marczyk Fine Foods, visit the market website. And be sure to check out Pete's blog and Marczyk Fine Wines.

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