PITTS, Ga. — There may be more improbable culinary trails than the one that leads from a red clay road here in the country’s most prolific peanut-growing state to Beyoncé’s plate at the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles. But as zero-to-hero food tales go, this is a good one.
The star of the story is cold-pressed green peanut oil, which some of the best cooks in the South have come to think of as their local answer to extra-virgin olive oil.
Buttery, slightly vegetal and hard to find, Southern green peanut oil is a new entry into the growing regional oil game. This is not the peanut oil that slicks countless woks and fills Chick-fil-A fryers, though it is made from the same runner peanuts. (They are the smaller and more uniform cousin of the Virginia peanuts you may find at a baseball game, and different in oil content from the Spanish peanuts in a PayDay candy bar.)
The nuts are pressed at low temperatures in a machine smaller than a golf bag in the back of a building that isn’t much more than a shack, on Clay Oliver’s farm. He lives about 150 miles south of Atlanta, and makes some 400 gallons a year. Chefs turn poetic when they describe it.
Read on at The New York Times.