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Beccafico sardines – the recipe from Cuoche ma buon


Beccafico sardines are a very tasty appetizer or second course, fragrant and tasty from typical Sicilian cuisine, which takes its name from a small bird, the beccafico. The dish has two versions, the Palermo one and the Catania one. In Palermo, the recipe includes a single sardine rolled up and cooked in the oven, whereas in Catania, two sardines paired like a sandwich, breaded and fried. A dish of poor origin but very appetizing and full of tasty ingredients. Our version is that of Palermo-style beccafico sardines: sardines rolled and stuffed with a mixture made with breadcrumbs, pine nuts and raisins, all flavored with an orange or lemon scented emulsion for the characteristic sweet and sour flavour. To accompany this tasty and aromatic dish, we have chosen a good biodynamic Sicilian Grillo from the Biogaia company and we recommend an orange and fennel salad. A valid alternative are fried breaded sardines.


Scope starter, main course

For the filling

  • 150 g bread crumbs
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 30 g pine nuts
  • 50 g raisins
  • 1 tuft parsley
  • juice and zest of an orange or lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • organic extra virgin olive oil to taste Lo Castro
  • sale q.b.
  • pepe q.b.

It will also serve you

  • 2 spoons bread crumbs
  • bay leaves to taste
  • sliced ​​orange to taste or lemon

For the emulsion

  • juice of an orange or lemon
  • organic extra virgin olive oil to taste Lo Castro
  • Clean the sardines: remove the head and bone, leaving the tail intact. Open them like a book, peel them, wash them and set them aside to drain.

  • Prepare the filling: in a pan, brown the anchovies over a low heat with 2 tablespoons of oil, mash them with a wooden spoon until they dissolve. Stir continuously, then add the breadcrumbs until golden, stirring continuously.

  • Add the raisins soaked in warm water and squeezed, the pine nuts, the chopped parsley, a pinch of salt and pepper.

  • Grate the orange zest and set aside. Use a citrus juicer to extract the juice.

  • Add the orange juice dissolved with the sugar to the breadcrumbs. Mix all the ingredients well, adding extra virgin olive oil as necessary to obtain a soft and easily compactable mixture.

  • At this point, turn off the heat and transfer everything into a bowl. Carefully mix all the ingredients, add the orange zest and add more oil if necessary. The mixture should be soft and easy to work with.

  • Before stuffing the sardines, preheat the oven to 180°C in fan mode.

  • Spread the sardines on a work surface and distribute part of the filling on each sardine. Compact the mixture with your hands and begin to roll them from the side of the head, forming rolls and keeping the tail upwards.

  • Place them on a baking tray lightly greased with oil and sprinkled with a little breadcrumbs, leave the rest aside. Arrange them tightly, one next to the other, so that they support each other: alternate between one and the other with bay leaves and half orange slices.

  • As soon as you have finished, prepare the emulsion with the orange juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Mix vigorously with a fork.

  • Before baking, sprinkle the reserved breadcrumbs on top, sprinkle with the emulsion and then bake.

  • Cook in fan mode at 180°C on the intermediate level for approximately 12-15 minutes. Leave to rest for a few minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

The cooking time is linked to the size of the sardines. Be careful not to let them dry out too much.
Also excellent as finger food: after the filling, secure them with a small wooden toothpick, insert a bay leaf on one side and a piece of onion on the other.
If you use gluten-free breadcrumbs you will have to increase the doses of extra virgin olive oil, given that gluten-free flours absorb a greater quantity of liquids.
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