Sarde a Beccafico

Although this recipe is traditionally made with sardines, I used fresh anchovies.  I visited my fish monger and he didn’t have sardines, but he had a beautiful tray of anchovies already cleaned & filetted… so I decided I’d just make the same recipe with a smaller fish.  The combination of ingredients in this dish are a marriage of wonderful flavours that I sincerely love.  Sarde a Beccafico is a recipe from Sicily, and I don’t think there’s anything that comes out of Sicily’s kitchen that I don’t love, savoury or sweet!  These can be eaten as an Appetiser, an accompaniment to a summer Aperitivo or as a Main Course.

Sarde a Beccafico

  • 500g fresh sardines (or anchovies)
  • 100g breadcrumbs (preferably homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons currants
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt & pepper
  • Bay leaves
  • zest of 1 orange
  1. Clean fish carefully, remove scales and gently flatten the sardine skin side down. Starting at the head end, carefully lift up the backbone and pull it away from the fillet; discard the backbone. (Or ask your friendly fish monger to do this for you). It is traditional to leave the tails attached, but you can remove them if you prefer.
  2. Toast the breadcrumbs gently in a frying pan, stirring and moving them around the pan.  When they are golden, place breadcrumbs into a bowl.  Don’t just remove the frying pan from the heat, because the breadcrumbs will continue cooking and could burn.
  3. To the breadcrumbs, add the garlic, currants, pinenuts and a little olive oil. Mix well until all ingredients are combined.
  4. Lay your sardines flat (skin side down) and using a teaspoon, spoon a little of the breadcrumb mixture on top.  Starting at the head end, roll up the sardine and place it in a shallow baking dish, lightly oiled with olive oil.  The tails should be sticking up. (my anchovies were without tails). Alternate the rows of sardines with bay leaves and keep everything tight and snug to prevent the fish opening while in the oven.
  5. In a small bowl, add lemon juice, a little olive oil, salt, pepper and orange zest. Pour this evenly over the sardines.
  6. Place in a preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes.
  7. These are delicious eaten hot, luke warm, or even cold!

  • Like many recipes throughout Italy, even in a small province, or island like Sicily, recipes can vary depending where you live.  This is another recipe I found, which has a few more ingredients added to the filling.  The procedure is the same….. so… the choice is yours which sounds more appealing…
ingredients for 6 serves
  • 900g fresh sardines
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup currants, plumped in water
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 8 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 6 black olives, pitted and slivered
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 dozen bay leaves
The sugar is used with the lemon & orange juice poured over the sardines before they go into the oven.

ITALIANO: Sarde a Beccafico

Anche se questa ricetta è tradizionalmente fatta con le sarde, io ho usato alici.  Ho visitato il mio pescivendolo e non aveva le sarde ma aveva un bel vassoio di alici già puliti e sfilettati … quindi ho deciso che avrei comunque fatta la stessa ricetta, ma con un pesce più piccolo.  La combinazione di ingredienti di questo piatto sono un connubio di sapori meravigliosi che io sinceramente amo.  Sarde a Beccafico è una ricetta dalla Sicilia, e non credo che ci sia niente che esce dalla cucina Siciliana che io non amo, dolce o salato! Questi possono essere consumati come Antipasto, accompagnamento ad un Aperitivo estivo o come piatto principale.
  • 500g di sarde
  • 100g di pangrattato
  • 2 cucchiai di pinoli
  • 2 cucchiai di uvetta passolina
  • 1 spicchio di aglio, tritato
  • succo di 1 limone
  • olio extravergine di oliva
  • sale e pepe
  • foglie di alloro
  • scorza di arancia
  1. Pulite con pazienza le sarde, togliendo la lisca centrale e la testa. Apritele a libro. (Puoi anche chiedere il tuo pescevendolo di fare il lavoro di pulizia per te).
  2. Tostate il pangrattato in una padella mescolando con attenzione finchè non sarà dorato.  Togliete dalla padella altrimenti continua a tostare, e metterlo in una ciotola.
  3. Al pangrattato, aggiungere l’aglio, olio, i pinoli e l’uvetta (fatta rinvenire in acqua tiepida). Mescolare tutto finchè il composto sarà omogeneo.
  4. Distribuitene un cucchiaino su ogni sarda (dal lato interno) e arrotolatela su se stessa.  Disponete i rotolini di sarde in una teglia unta di olio altertnandoli con le foglie di alloro e stringendoli bene in modo che si sostengano tra loro.
  5. Spremete il succo di limone, e unite il sale, pepe, olio extravergine e la scorza di arancia. Bagnare le sarde, e infornate per 15 minuti a 180°C.  Si mangiano caldi o freddi.


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