Sarde A Beccafico (Stuffed Sardines) is a Sicilian speciality, although the recipe differs where in Sicily you are.
Natalia Ravida shares with us her recipe for this dish as you would find them in eastern Sicily. Simpler than you may think, incredibly delicious, and with the added bonus that they can be made in advance and served cold as a starter.
12-16 Sardines. Filleted open as a book, scaled, gutted, with the backbone and head removed (ask a fishmonger for help).
1 Orange, half juiced
6 Bay leaves
For the Filling:
25g pecorino or parmesan, grated
2 tbs finely chopped parsley
1 clove of garlic
1tbs finely grated onion
30g dried blackcurrants
30g pine nuts
2 anchovy fillets in olive oil
2tbs white wine
Extra Virgin Olive Oil, preferably Ravida
Sea Salt, (again preferably Ravida!)
Wash and dry the sardines, buy make sure that the fillets remain attached.
Warm two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a small pan, gently cook the onion and garlic.
Stir in the anchovies and blackcurrants.
Mix in the breadcrumbs, orange zest, wine and other ingredients
Season with salt and pepper.
To serve this dish as you would find it in eastern Sicily, stuff the sardine fillets with the breadcrumb mixture.
If you prefer to present it as you would find it in Palermo, fill each sardine with about 1 tsp of the breadcrumb mixture, and then roll tightly adding a quartered slice of orange and a bay leaf between rolls.
Cook for 12 minutes in a 180 degrees C oven.
Eat warm or cold.