Fennel-Spinach Salad with Mandarins &Cranberries

If you’re making a salad for Thanksgiving, it is one area where you can get creative without too many protests from the culinary traditionalists.

Wash 1/2 lb. spinach leaves by soaking and lifting the leaves out of the water.  Spin dry.

Cut the stems and fronds off 1 Fennel bulb.  Reserve a small amount of the fine leaves.  Save the stems for use in making broth, if you like.

Cut 1 fennel bulb in half, then use a paring knife to remove the core at the bottom.  Very thinly slice the bulb or use a mandoline.  Cut the longest slices in half.

Cut 2 mandarins in halves.  Juice 1 half.  Use a grapefruit spoon or knife to scoop the segments from the 3 halves out.

Make a dressing with 3 T. red wine vinegar, 1 T. fresh mandarin juice, and 4 T. olive oil plus salt and pepper to taste.  Toss the fennel with the dressing and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Toast 1/2 C. slivered almonds in a pan or toaster oven.

Toss the spinach with the fennel, oranges, almonds, and  1/2 C. dried cranberries.  If you like, top with crumbled goat cheese (chevre).

 

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