Oil from the fruit of the argan tree grown in Morocco, looks set to be this summer's trendy ingredient.
Warwick-based ingredients supplier Silbury Marketing is offering the oil which it says is a superb finisher for prepared meals and salads.
Kate Hall, sales manager at Silbury, says the oil, which is extracted from argan fruit kernels, has a sweet nutty aroma, making it an excellent finisher for prepared meals such as tagines and couscous. Similar to peanut oil, it is also used as a salad dressing or for dressing roasted vegetables and meat and fish dishes. In the US, it is drizzled over pasta and has also been used as the base of a herby pizza sauce. In France it is used to garnish soups.
The oil extraction is currently a cottage industry for co-operative workers on the edge of the Western Sahara. The nuts are cracked by hand before the oil is collected by cold pressing.
The oil is rich in both vitamin E and fatty acids, including oleic- and linoleic acid as well as omega-6. "We anticipate customers will find argan oil very useful as a high-end finisher for a range of prepared meals. It has an appealing flavour and, with its functional properties, sales of argan oil should match those of avocado oil in a relatively short time," says Hall.