I don't know if my SIL thought I should do something about my appearance when she brought it back for me from her vacation in Morocco, I believe she meant for us to enjoy and eat it, I must admit it was sitting in the basement for a while, but it's out now and I plan on using it.
As I said, a little reading was in order and the part that I had the most fun with, was the part with the goats. Goats? Yes! Somewhere in the back of my mind upon receiving the present there was this little story on goats eating, er.. processing and fermenting, and hey presto: extra-special aroma! But....that was coffee beans.... It turns out it's Argan nuts as well. Or is it?
Different sources, different stories but goats in every one of them. In one, we unsuspecting readers and future consumers are reassured that goats are only allowed to climb the trees that are not used for culinary purposes....(hah, no, we won't eat that but instead dab it on our pretty faces...duh!) in another we are told that because of the goat-fermenting process the nuts are easier to crack and so the oil can be pressed. In the area around Agadir where these Argan trees are found, food is hard to get and for the goats the fruit of these trees are a much welcomed part of their diet. They eat the whole fruit, leaving the inner core (the nut) intact and in passing the digestive system makes it softer and easier to crack.
For the sake of
sanity argument I am going to believe that these goats can be trained to climb the not-culinary-nut-holding-trees, and that the people collecting the nuts are trained to distinguish between goat-processed nuts and not-goat-processed nuts. Nuts. Indeed! Do you think goats can climb trees, not just the lower branches but the entire tree? Go on....click!
Isn't that fun? Now that I have this bottle, truth or dare? I braced myself and tasted the oil as it was, straight from the bottle like you would an olive oil. Hmm, quite strong and powerful, funny aftertaste, very nutty earthy flavor, somewhat herbal? It gives a very oily/buttery mouthfeel as well (organoleptically speaking *grin*). The next thing was try it on some good bread with er.. soft goat cheese (sorry, that was on hand in the kitchen and I thought it was kind of appropriate). Well eeh....the flavours mingled and seem to enhance one 'n other.....
Haven't had the chance to use it in a dish yet, but I'm thinking a salad will be nice, using oranges and parsley, some roasted pine nuts. And a dash of oil instead of butter in a bowl of couscous sounds good too. And maybe I should try to make the Moroccan variety of peanutbutter, Amlou, a mixture of roasted ground almonds, honey and argan oil. Suggestions anyone?