Stuffed sardines with spinach, pine nuts & raisins

Stuffed sardines with spinach, pine nuts & raisins

By
From
Sicily
Serves
6

Originally, this dish was made with small birds. Translated literally, beccafico means ‘fig-peckers’. You will find various forms of this traditional Sicilian dish all over the island. This is Gregorio Piazza’s way of cooking it; he comes from Augusta, to the east of Sicily, where they use spinach and oranges.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g spinach
7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and roughly sliced
salt
freshly ground black pepper
50g pine nuts
50g sultanas, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes
40g fresh breadcrumbs, made from the inside of a crusty loaf
12 fresh sardines, heads removed and filleted
1 orange, sliced
8 bay leaves
12 cocktail sticks

Method

  1. Steam the spinach briefly until soft. Drain and allow to cool. Squeeze out the water so that you have a dryish ball of spinach. Chop it finely on a board. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic for just a minute over a medium heat. Add the spinach to the pan and season. Use a wooden spoon to stir it around.
  2. Put the pine nuts and sultanas on a board and roughly chop them together, then add to the pan with the spinach and stir through. Cook for around 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Mix with the breadcrumbs in a bowl.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease an ovenproof dish with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Lay the sardine fillets on a chopping board, season lightly with salt and pepper and drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over them. Place a sardine in the palm of your hand, lay a line of stuffing down the spine, roll up the fish and secure with a cocktail stick. Repeat with the rest of the sardines and put them all into the dish. Put the orange slices and bay leaves between the fish. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with antipasti, or as a main course with salad or rice.
Tags:
Italy
Italian
Sicily
Sicilian
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