What a way to go…

Jackson Pollock was a controversial contemporary artist of the 20th century. His popularity rivaled many of the most successful artists of that era. His work was very abstract and atmospheric. He was also parodied in a ’60’s movie called “What A Way To Go” with Paul Newman playing a character loosely based on Pollock.

Pollock’s approach evolved with time, but he was best known for creating gigantic canvasses that he laid flat on the floor. He would then methodically splatter and spray paint on them, creating a random but exciting effect. This dish pays tribute, and is hopefully somewhat humbly evocative of his vibrant style, sampled below.

As brilliant as Pollock may have been, he was also in the practice of getting behind the wheel of his car after notoriously extensive periods of alcohol abuse. This led to his death, along with one of his passengers, so he became a tragic figure. Even so, his work endures, and there have been many books written and films made about him.

The Terrine

Process carrots and golden beets sous vide @

183F/84Cx1 hour.

Cold shock in ice water to 70F/21C before you refrigerate @40F/4C. 

Slice as thin as possible, using a mandolin or Swiss peeler. Sprinkle with S+P, and drizzle with a few drops of EVOO. Avoid handling excessively.

Use a ring, cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, etc. to lay the vegetables in. I try to build a little wall first with the carrots, and then fill it up with the rest, it doesn’t have to be perfect, because we then vacuum it all together in a bag.

Foodsavers can accomplish this, and it can even be done in a Ziploc bag. Do not seal the bag, because we are not going to cook the terrine. The plastic protects the contents from your fingers as you press the vegetables into the ring. Weight the top if desired/possible. This should rest in the refrigerator for at least four hours. It makes a difference!

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch Dressing

Cut a thick center slice out of a head of iceberg. Do not remove the core, it holds the wedge together, even though it’s not really a wedge.

Paint the lettuce wedge with Ranch Dressing, in which there is no shame. Ranch dressing replaced Green Goddess in our collective consciousness, and not a moment too soon. Green Goddess did not have avocado in it as some people believe. It was stained green with parsley and/or watercress, and was otherwise without any distinguishing characteristics. Ranch was actually an improvement.

Drizzle as shown with what is colloquially called “French” or “Catalina” dressing, neither of which it has anything to do with. Even so, there is no shame in it either. This dressing is ketchup, sugar, water, vinegar, garlic, yada yada, and oil. My wife loves it, and it is the right color.

Then, drizzle the salad with balsamic syrup, which may be a syrup, but is in no way balsamic. Perhaps a topic for another article.

Heirloom is another one of those words.

Marketing provides sales departments great latitude with the meaning of words. That being said, heirloom tomatoes are pretty good, some of them. This bi-colored one is really sweet, I will give them that. Cut a slice and lay it on top of the wedge that isn’t really a wedge.

Season, and drizzle Pollock-like with some more ranch dressing and whatever feels right. Then, lay the terrine on top of that, they usually pop right out of the form.

Then, splatter again, just like Jackson might do. Continue splattering until you feel it is time to stop. Then, splatter some more.

Observe your work. It should be full, and uniform, in its own way. Jackson Pollock may have splattered, but he did so in a very meticulous and precise way.

I always considered myself an artist, I really do. I see things in an artistic way, even science. I try to deal with the world artistically. Some people think you’re conceited when you tell them you’re an artist, but it needn’t be so.

Americans are kind of cynical about art, like it’s not a valid career or life choice. Not quite as bad as being a cook or a waiter, but almost, and very pretentious. But I really am an artist, and nobody can tell me I’m not. I’m just not a very good one.

Norm