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Prune, Orange, Fennel and Red Onion Salad

I love a salad that's more than lettuce and cucumbers, which is nice, but salads are limited only by our own creativity. This gem features dried fruit, oranges, fennel and bitter greens and creates a symphony of flavors.

1 cup dried pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Generous pinch cracked black pepper
2 oranges
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed, 2 teaspoons chopped fronds reserved, bulb halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into very thin slices
1 red onion, halved lengthwise, very thin half moons
1 small cucumber, halved lengthwise, cut into very thin half moons
5 cups baby spinach or other baby greens

Place the prunes, orange juice and a pinch of salt in a saucepan over low heat. Simmer until prunes are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain, reserving juice, and set prunes aside to cool. Whisk together oil, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, pepper and reserved cooking juice from prunes until emulsified. Set aside.

Using a sharp knife, cut peel and white pith from oranges. Catching the juice in a bowl, cut between the membranes to release the orange segments. Reserve the juice for another recipe (or enjoy it right there). Combine orange segments with fennel, red onion, cucumber and spinach. Toss salad with prunes and dressing to coat the leaves. Serve garnished with fennel fronds. 

Makes 4 servings. 


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