Book Excerpt: Lukas Volger's "Snacks for Dinner"
Two recipe excerpts
This week we have a threefer of recipes: two delicious bread-adjacent recipes from Lukas Volger’s new cookbook, Snacks for Dinner—a mushroom pâté and a carrot-lentil-dill salad—along with a new high-hydration focaccia from me that comes in both sourdough and yeasted versions. These three recipes combine wonderfully together, as in the above image.
I love Snacks for Dinner, because I too love…snacks for dinner. Lukas’s book nudges you toward a more relaxed attitude toward composing a meal, even a “substantial” one like supper. Who says dinner has to be soup-salad-entrée all the time?
It’s just as easy and potentially far more fun to assemble a collection of small plates, many of which can be made ahead of time—like pickles, dips, or spreads (of which there are many in this book)—ready to pull from the fridge come suppertime. (We Middle Easterners just call this mezze, though in my family we often tack on a whole other entirely superfluous meal after we’ve already stuffed ourselves with grazing.)
Below I’ve included some of Lukas’ own words about these recipes and the philosophy behind his books. It’s borrowed with permission from his own newsletter, to which you should also definitely subscribe!
Get this book, it will expand your sense of what “dinner” can mean and help you embrace the idea that snacks are good food, anytime.
When you get into the snacks-for-dinner way of life — of having all the components of snacky meals on hand — one of the most exciting developments is that a modular style of eating starts to come very naturally. It took me a while to realize that this sensibility, of thinking about meals and recipes as the combination of components rather than their many individual ingredients, is what my cookbooks Bowl, Start Simple, and Snacks for Dinner all have in common. The aim is to get the reader out of the granular, nitty-gritty of a recipe and to understand how interchangeable all its moving parts can be.
At least, that’s how this toast came about. Having leftover focaccia, a little tub of my Mixed Mushroom Pate, and Carrot, Lentil, and Date Salad with Dill — all Snacks for Dinner recipes that I love and make often — one thing led to another. Focaccia gets quickly revived by griddling, and then the rich, creamy pâté pairs so well with the juicy, well textured salad that’s got unexpected bursts of sweetness. It’s a snack of snacks, a meal until itself. The only thing is that you need to make the three components. But never fear — use whatever bread you’ve got on hand but toast it well. And while I haven’t tried them all, my guess is that most creamy, vegetable or bean based spreads can be subbed for the pâté.
An Exceptional Vegan Snacking Toast
This toast came about from having the components on hand — the focaccia, the salad, and the mushroom pate, three dishes I love to include in my snacks-for-dinner meals. Sub whatever bread you’ve got, and if there’s another rich, plant-based pate you like, I’m sure it would taste equally good here as well.
For 1 toast, but easily multiplied
1 square leftover focaccia, split in half lengthwise
2 heaping spoonfuls Mixed Mushroom Pate (a slightly updated recipe appears in Snacks for Dinner)
2 substantial scoops of Carrot, Lentils, + Dates with Dill salad
Dill fronds, for garnish
Flaky salt, for garnish
Warm a skillet over medium heat until fully preheated, then add a splash of oil. Lay in the bread, cut-side down, and griddle, pressing with a spatula periodically to encourage even browning and crisping. Then transfer to a cutting board, griddled-side up.
Smear the pate thickly over the warm toasts, then top with generous scoops of the salad. Cut into triangles if you like, and garnish with dill, flaky salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.