Sarde beccafico

Sarde beccafico

Stuffed sardines, beccafico style

By
From
Spring in Sicily
Serves
4
Photographer
Simon Griffiths

This is the perfect dish to prepare in springtime, when the sardines are plump and tender.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
700g fresh sardines
15 fresh bay leaves
handful each chopped flat-leaf parsley and mint, to serve

Stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
120-200ml virgin olive oil
5 anchovy fillets
100g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained and finely chopped, (optional)
3 tablespoons currants
4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 organic lemon, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Scrape away the scales from the sardines. Pull the heads away from the bodies – the backbone will naturally come away too – making sure the tail stays attached to the two fillets. Rinse them well then dry them on kitchen paper.
  2. To make the stuffing, heat half the olive oil in a small frying pan, then add the anchovies and let them melt, stirring continuously for about a minute. Add the breadcrumbs and cook for another minute then add the parsley, mix well and take off the heat. Stir in the capers, currants, pine nuts, lemon zest (reserving the juice for later), sugar and a little salt and pepper.
  3. Open out the sardines and lay them out flat on a work surface. Place a teaspoon of the stuffing mixture onto each fish, arranging it neatly along its length. Lift the sides of the fish up to enclose the stuffing and secure with 2 toothpicks.
  4. Butter an ovenproof dish, around 18 x 30 cm. Arrange the stuffed sardines in the dish, packing them in tightly to prevent them opening up. Tuck the bay leaves in between the sardines and sprinkle on any leftover stuffing mixture. Drizzle over the remaining oil and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and pour on the reserved lemon juice. Add the fresh herbs just before serving. You can serve this dish hot or cold, although I like it best at room temperature.
Tags:
Spring in Sicily
Manuela
Darling
Gansser
Sicilian
Sicily
Italy
Italian
Mediterranean
European
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