If you’ve ever been to the Getty high on a hill above West Los Angeles, you know the gardens. They extend from architect Richard Meier’s gleaming white edifice with a certain Babylonian flair for the dramatic, thanks especially to the unconventional design by San Diego artist Robert Irwin.
And they grow salad greens. And they invite artists to come pick a few greens, make a good salad (the artist’s favorite), and talk about the relationship between food and making art. All this is coordinated by artist/blogger Julia Sherman, and her postings in Salad for President and the Getty Salad Garden are a delight. She calls Salad for President “an evolving publishing project that draws a meaningful connection between food, art and everyday obsessions.”
Her guest artists have included Robert Irwin, Julian Hoeber, Samara Golden and the “gangsta gardener,” Ron Finley, who drew the City of Los Angeles’s ire years ago when he planted the “hell strip” outside his house (the strip of dirt between sidewalk and street) with an edible garden. Cited for that revolutionary act, he fought the city, won, and spawned a movement. (His salad recipe is rather challenging, so we won’t feature it here. When was the last time you could find a banana blossom? Well, yes—perhaps in an Asian market.) Here’s a more accessible recipe from artist Julian Hoeber.
Julian Hoeber’s Pancetta and Bitter Greens Salad
12 oz bitter winter greens (escarole and chicory, for example)
Bronze fennel fronds, for garnish
Garlic chives, for garnish
2 oz pancetta, cut into matchsticks
2 tbs olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 ½ oz apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
For the salad, wash and dry the greens. Chop the fennel fronds finely. Chop the the garlic chives coarsely. Keep separate and set aside.
For the dressing, heat olive oil in a nonstick pan on high heat. Add pancetta and let cook until the edges begin to brown. Burnt pieces on the bottom of the pan are ok and will add to the flavor of the dressing. Turn the heat down to medium and add the shallot until it begins to soften.
Turn off the heat and add the vinegars, stirring the vinegar around to deglaze any burnt pieces from the bottom of the pan. Pour the contents of the pan to a bowl and set aside. Wipe clean.
For the fried eggs, turn the heat on high and add olive oil. Fry the eggs, one per person, either sunny side up or over easy but leave the yolks as runny as possible.
While the eggs are still hot, pour the bacon and vinegar mix over the greens and toss with salt and pepper. Divide salad into two bowls and place a fried egg in each bowl. Sprinkle fennel fronds and garlic chives over the top. Serve.
Julia Sherman runs Salad for President, an evolving publishing project that draws a meaningful connection between food, art and everyday obsessions. Each of Sherman’s blog entries contains a salad recipe made in collaboration with an artist, musician, writer, or creative professional, living their lives artfully. Her online platform serves as a springboard for events, collaborations and public programming.Sherman’s “Salad For President: The Cookbook” will be published by Abrams Books in Spring 2017. PHOTOS: Originally published on SALAD for President