Liquid Gold

Often likened to gemstones and other rare treasures, quite frankly, the rocks pale in comparison to argan oil. Incredibly rare, this so-called “liquid gold” is produced only in Morocco from the kernel of a dying breed of tree. Extracting the oil itself is a painstaking process, and thus the cost is near astronomical. Used for culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal purposes, rumored health benefits reach far and wide across any proposed usage. Whether it’s eaten, rubbed into the skin, or applied to the hair, it would seem as though anything it touches is magically improved and given a certain glow. Deciphering where the hype ends and the health benefits begin is hard to say, but there is definite merit in the claims; truth be told, it’s long been my hair care secret. Few chemical combinations have been able to tame my curly locks, but this simple oil has brought shine and smoothness to my otherwise frizzy mop of a mane. Of course, the argan oil I use in my hair isn’t pure, but cut with a number of other fillers and fragrances to bring down costs. Nothing you’d want to put in your mouth, that’s for sure.

Culinary-grade oil produced by The Argan Tree, on the other hand, is a luxurious indulgence for the palate. Setting aside the proposed nutritional perks, argan oil is worth splurging on at least once in a blue moon for the sublime flavor. Richly scented of roasted nuts, reminiscent of toasted sesame oil, it’s incredibly aromatic for such an unassuming pale yellow nectar. Deep, woodsy roasted notes prevail, though the effect is quite mild and smooth overall. Finishing with a subtle sweetness and absolutely no bitterness or astringent qualities to speak of, the centuries-long love affair with argan oil becomes easy to understand with a single taste. Surprisingly light, it doesn’t coat the palate, but dissipates quickly; a fleeting delight to chase after with another oil-imbued morsel.

An ingredient of such pedigree must be treated with respect, and for the most part allowed to shine unhindered. Applied to salads, soups, or breads unadorned (and never cooked!), the best way to enjoy argan oil is by pairing it with simple but delicious fresh fruits and veggies. Now that heirloom tomatoes are back in season, I simply couldn’t resist dressing them up in a lush argan coat.

Plate provided by Steelite

No recipes required. It would be a shame to cover up or modify such an extraordinary oil.

Have you ever tried argan oil? How do you like to serve it?