I learned about argan oil while working on the line at Pure Food and Wine in New York City. I hadn’t been able to find it anywhere, so when my mother-in-law brought back a bottle for me from a recent trip to Paris, I had to incorporate it in my next dish. Argan trees only grow in southwestern Morocco and are now listed as endangered. The oil from the tree is produced by grinding nuts into a paste and kneading them to extract the oil. The oil is rich in vitamin E and is said to have restorative and age-defying effects. It has a unique nutty flavor on salads and also apparently works magic on the skin!
This salad is a recent favorite. The hearty kale with the sweet figs and dates go really well with the interesting nutty flavor from the argan oil. I served this with my Sweet Potato + Lentil Stew on Halloween. A great change-up on your typical starter salad.
Winter Salad: Figs, Dates + Argan
1 large bowl mixed baby lettuces
1/4 bunch purple kale, stemmed and chopped
1 small handful micro greens
1 large handful of fresh figs, quartered
1 small handful dates, chopped in to bite-sized pieces
1 small handful pine nuts, toasted
1/2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp argon oil, or other nut oil
3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Drizzle local honey
Celtic sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss the pine nuts in a small bowl with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Set aside.
Combine the lettuces, figs, and sprouts in a bowl. Toss with the argan oil and lemon juice. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.