Here is the quintessential Tuscan appetizer. Rare is the trattoria that doesn't serve crostini. Rarer still is the casalinga (housewife) who doesn't have her own special recipe for them. Whole dinner-party conversations have centered around the debate as to what constitutes the perfect pate. Among the controversies: spleen (milza) or no spleen. According to one cook, it gives quella punta damaro, a touch of bitterness (without which the pate is troppo dolce, or too sweet). Another line of division is the way the ingredients are processed. Home cooks of the old school would always use a mezzaluna and work the ingredients manually. The result is a coarse paste, somewhat more difficult to spread than the smooth (and, they would say, suspiciously artificial-looking) mixture that results from using a food processor or blender. Some add a splash of wine, others a bit of pickled vegetables. Still others have their own secrets with which they will not part. The following is a very fine basic recipe. The baguette slices may be toasted before being spread with the pate.
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