Adults like strange things — smelly cheese, strong drinks, dull movies. They like liver. Despite the obvious: It's awful.
As kids we accepted such odd tastes. One day, we too would be drawn to smelly cheese, dull movies and liver. And while our parents never encouraged a precocious attitude toward drink, they insisted we partake, underage, in liver.
I did. And didn't complain. But I didn't like it.
I've since tried. At least once. It was at a party, in my honor. The hostess — and cook — was my mother-in-law-to-be. One bite nearly scotched the whole deal.
So I took interest when I heard chef April Bloomfield say, during a radio interview, that the scent of liver makes her weak in the knees. In the good way.
It made me curious in the taste buds.
I looked up Bloomfield's book, "A girl and her pig," and noted on the cover the girl, looking serene, and the pig, draped over her shoulders, looking dead.
I followed the instructions, finding encouragement in old friends like garlic and shallots and port. I spread the chunky pate across a thick slice of grilled bread and bit. It was good, in an earthy, hearty, gutsy kind of way. A way that made me feel, if not weak-kneed, adult.
Makes: 4 toasts
About ¼ cup olive oil, plus a bit
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons each: dry Madeira, ruby port
½ pound chicken livers, trimmed, separated into lobes
Flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper
A few sprigs flat-leaf parsley, chopped
4 thick slices crusty breadBrown: