Argan oil is a deep golden oil, often with a reddish tinge that is produced from the seeds of the Argan tree, which only grows in Morocco.
It is lighter in weight than nut and olive oils, having a weight and body similar to seed oils like sesame. This however, is where the similarity ends. The aroma hits you as soon as you open the bottle, and its flavor is as big and bold as the aroma. It opens with a hint of nuttiness, and this expands to toastiness and spice - something akin to pumpkin seeds but more pungent. It provides an oh-so-light, buttery mouth feel, and a sharp finish. It is truly a memorable flavor, and essential to the Berber cuisine of southwest Morocco.
In Morocco it is used both as a cooking oil and as an ingredient. In salads it is most often combined with lemon juice, while for tagines (stews) and couscous it is a finishing drizzle. It is also combined with honey and yogurt and eaten for breakfast. It is one of the most memorable flavors in Moroccan cuisine.
Today, it can be found in some of the best restaurants in the world, in France, in England, in the USA and elsewhere. Four Star chefs use it to finish soups, to create vinaigrettes, to flavor cooked grains and stews, and to finish grilled meats, fish, and vegetables. We suggest much of the same.
For salads create vinaigrettes using lighter acids like lemon juice, verjus, Banyuls vinegar or any combination of these. You can also blend the argan with grape seed oil or a light olive oil to create a softer flavor. An argan oil vinaigrette works well with salads composed of strongly flavored ingredients like blue cheese, grilled meats and poultry, and even nuts and fruit. We also recommend it to finish bean and vegetable soups, such as a puréed white bean soup, squash soup or potato and leek soup. It goes especially well with the flavor of lentils as in the traditional lentils with tomato. Don't forget to experiment with it on some grill halibut or sea bass.