- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Liver pate and chocolate milk may not seem a natural pairing, but they go lusciously together.

That was my after-school snack when I was a child in Germany: liverwurst spread thick on crusty white bread, accompanied by a mug of milk so thick with chocolate it probably should have been called a shake.

So that particular pairing probably isn’t for everyone. Yet despite plenty of more normal ways to enjoy liver, it’s an ingredient that has a persistent — and I say undeserved — stigma attached to it.

That’s a shame. Though not exactly health food, a 4-ounce serving of beef liver has the same calories (246) and protein (about 30 grams) as a 90 percent lean broiled hamburger, and less fat. It does, however, pack a fair amount of cholesterol.

Of course, it tastes great. Just a bit dry, pleasantly chewy, meaty and savory — especially when paired with onions.

The mission was to devise a liver recipe anyone could love. No chocolate milk involved.

The result was bruschetta (toasted bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with olive oil) topped with a quick saute of onions, liver and sun-dried tomatoes. A bit of melted cheddar cheese completes this easy starter or light lunch.

A note on buying liver. Apparently, finding fresh beef liver can be a challenge. However, most grocers sell it pre-cut and frozen in 4-ounce steaks. This recipe was developed for those, which generally call for cooking them without first thawing them.

If you find fresh liver, you will need to adjust for shorter cooking, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Beef liver bruschetta

From start to finish, this recipe takes 25 minutes.

4 large, thick slices rustic sourdough bread

2 cloves garlic

Extra-virgin olive oil

1/4-pound frozen beef liver steak

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced

4 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 deli slices cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange the bread on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly brown. Remove the bread from the oven and rub the garlic over each slice. Return the bread to the baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and set aside. Leave the oven on.

While the bread toasts, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the liver and saute, turning occasionally, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the onion. Saute until the onion is lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and saute another minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Slice the liver into thin strips, then add them to the skillet and gently toss to combine.

Top each slice of bread with a quarter of the liver mixture, then set a slice of cheese over each. Return the baking sheet to the oven and heat until the cheese just melts, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 4 starter-course servings.

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