I had a salad similar to this at a family reunion this summer made by my CIL, Melissa. It was so delicious that I searched the internet. This is as close as I've come to her actual recipe so far:
1/2 c. sliced blanched almonds
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. parsley
4 tbsp. vinegar
1/2 c. salad oil
Dash hot pepper sauce (I just use a little salsa)
1 head Romaine lettuce
2 c. chopped celery (I haven't added this)
4 chopped green onions (I haven't added this)
1 (15 oz.) can mandarin oranges
To caramelize almonds, cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until sugar melts and sticks to nuts. Remove immediately from heat and cool in pan. Break into pieces. (Can be done ahead.)
Combine all dressing ingredients; shake until well mixed; chill.
Just before serving, assemble salad; toss with dressing and sprinkle 1/2 cup almonds on top.