Small Plates. Big Flavor
A must-have for your next book club, date night, or dinner party, comedian and chef Anthony LeDonne's Size Matters explores meals beyond mains. He could have called it tapas, but he was tired of his mother making the joke, "Topless?! Does the food not have a shirt?" *cue straight face emojis everywhere* 😐
With LeDonne's trademark snarky wit, stunning photography, foolproof recipes, and boundless humility, Size Matters features over 100 delicious small plates designed to be eaten alone as a regular meal or grouped together for an epic dinner party that demands just one more glass of wine...
Whether you're tired of the standard appetizer + entree + side dish = dinner routine, or simply want to break the meat and potatoes rut (though, there's a game-changing recipe for that too!) Size Matters proves it's not the size of your plate that matters—it's what you put on it.
In most cookbooks, authors use the Intro section to tell you the story of how the book came about. Maybe there was a trip to the Italian coast that sparked a lifelong love for fresh seafood. Or maybe the author bought a new air fryer and wants to sell you on all the things you can make with the contraption. Or maybe the intro features a heartfelt story about how the author lost weight after trying dozens of gimmicky diets.
But this isn’t most cookbooks. This one doesn’t have a story.
This one has a moment.
You know that moment when you’re sitting in a restaurant, when the entrées arrive, and all the conversation just…dies?
There’s usually a huge fanfare as four waiters descend on the table and simultaneously deposit a dish in front of each diner. And then everyone kinda stares at their food. Doing that mental check—did they get the ketchup? beans on the side? are these diver scallops? And after the dish passes muster, they dig in with knife and fork and start shoveling food into their faces like it was a race.
That’s the moment I’m talking about.
Don’t get me wrong, this can be a welcome intrusion if it interrupts your tablemates’ inane story about their offspring’s new phrase that you didn’t ask about. “‘No matter what you say to him, Little Trevvie says ‘Cool’. It’s the cutest thing. Here’s a dozen videos of him saying it.” 😐
But more often than not the conversation is good. It’s fun. It’s entertaining! It’s the whole reason you got together with these people in the first place!
That’s the moment I’m talking about—the Big Plate Blunder.
Which is why I love sharing small plates. Smaller dishes keeps the focus on the company, not the food. You can grab and dip a chip without stopping your story. Grab a meatball, pass the plate. It’s the culinary equivalent of puff puff pass.
I love getting some arancini to start while we sip our Vespers. And then splitting some ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms with our second round. And then an order of cacio e pepe while we switch to wine. And then some lamb lollipops. And then dessert. And then coffee. (Don't worry, there are recipes for all these and more.)
Small plates allow for more variety. They’re less of a commitment. Not sure if you want the entire steak? Get that and the risotto and split them with your date.
My wife and I face the same issue at home. I can’t tell you how often I feel like I’m in a cooking rut where I’ll pick up a rib eye, a potato, and some broccoli for dinner. But that gets old. I want the variety of excellent bar bites, damnit!
So I wrote this book.
I wrote this book to give people recipes to keep the conversation going. I wrote this book for people who want thoughtful dishes to pass around the table, drinks they could make for friends, food they could grab with their hands, recipes for things on sticks, toasts, and in bowls.
I wrote this book for people who want small plates and big flavor.
I wrote this book for you.
So have I convinced you to buy the book yet? Are you won over by my story … er … moment?
I hope so. Because the book’s pretty damn good, and it’d be a shame for you to miss out.
Alright, enough from me… It’s time for you to call up a few of your closest friends, open a bottle of wine, and get cooking!
Burrata, artichoke, baby lettuce, lemon
Chicken Bites: Buffalo
Chicken Bites: Madeira
Chicken Bites: Marsala
Chicken Bites: Piccata
Greek Skewers: Watermelon, Feta, Cucumber, Olive, Mint
Grilled chicken skewers, salsa verde
Hanger steak skewers, country bread, nut romesco, salsa verde
Italian Antipasto Skewers
Short Rib Skewer, roasted shallot, red wine reduction
Steak Skewers, cilantro radish salsa, flatbread
Arugula salad, shaved fennel, heirloom cherry tomato, mint, basil, parm-reg
Brussels sprouts, granny smith apple, creme fraiche, pistachio
Cacio e Pepe
Campanelle, Pumpkin, Sage Brown Butter, Almond
Cauliflower Cacio e Pepe
Frisee, lardons, poached egg
Gnocchi with Pancetta, Preserved Lemon, Parmesan
Gnocchi, brown butter, sage
Herbed Brown Butter Tagliolini with Ritz
Pappardelle with beef chunk bolognese
Soy-glazed Roasted Carrots, labneh, honey
Tortellini, peas, robiola
Tuna Tartare, avocado mousse, ginger-soy marinade
How to cheeseboard
Burrata, 5 ways
Million Dollar Dip
Beef and Ricotta Meatballs, red sauce, parm
Crispy Artichokes with kalamata / black olive aioli
Crispy soft-boiled egg
Stuffed Dates, almonds and cheese, wrapped in prosciutto or jamón
Falafel, fava bean, tzatziki, quick pickled cabbage
Fried Mashed Potato Balls
Heritage Pork Meatball, roasted tomato sugo, polenta, parm-reg
Lamb meatballs, roasted red pepper, brown butter labneh, pine nuts
Short Rib Meatballs
Spinach + Cheese Croquettes
Squash Blossoms, Ricotta, Pesto
"Ham & Cheese"
Brown Butter Basted fish, Capers, Grilled Bread
Grilled Cheese Sando
Skirt Steak Pintxos
Toast Party! Avocado
Toast Party! Bruschetta
Toast Party! Chorizo, Manchego, Quince Paste
Toast Party! Jambon sec, brie, blackberry preserves
Toast Party! Mushroom Bruschetta
Toast Party! Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Balsamic
Toast Party!: Black Olive Tapenade, Anchovy, egg
Chorizo, Manchego, quick-pickled allium, salsa verde
French Onion Sliders
Mushroom & Thyme Sliders
Pulled Pork Sliders, pickled cipollini onions
Turkey & Brie Sliders
Ice Cream Cookies, brown butter cookies, pistachio ice cream
More Ice Cream Cookies, peanut butter cookies, vanilla ice cream