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Mandarin Almond Salad

mandarins-21 head romaine lettuce - rinsed, dried and chopped

3 mandarin oranges in segments
6 onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white sugar
½ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
ground black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine the romaine lettuce, oranges and green onions.
Heat 2 tablespoons sugar with the almonds in saucepan over medium heat. Cook and stir while sugar starts to melt and coat almonds. Stir constantly until almonds are light brown. Turn onto a plate, and cool for 10 minutes.
Combine balsamic vinegar, olive oil, one tablespoon sugar, red pepper flakes and black pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake vigorously until sugar is dissolved.
Before serving, toss lettuce with salad dressing until coated. Transfer to a large serving bowl, and sprinkle with sugared almonds.