Sarde a beccafico


This typical Sicilian recipe has a clear Middle Eastern origin, apparent in the unusual mix of salted and sweet flavors. The following is the Palermo variation of the recipe, which is generally considered the most authentic one.




- 800g sardines

- 50g breadcrumbs

- 25g raisins

- 25g pine nuts

- 2 teaspoons of honey

- 2 anchovies fillets

- 15g white sugar

- ½ orange juice

- Black pepper, ground

- Extra-virgin olive oil

- Ground chili pepper

- Laurel leaves

- Parsley, chopped

- Salt




Warm the oven to 200C. Clean and wash the sardines inside and out, but do not remove their tails. Dry the fish and open them completely without separating the two halves. Warm a little oil and the breadcrumbs in a frying pan until the crumbs are golden (pay attention to stir all the time not to burn them), then place them in a bowl. Soften the raisins in warm water, and squeeze it off after a few minutes of dunking. Chop the parsley and –separately – the anchovies. Add the raisins, pine nuts, parsley, anchovies, sugar, salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs and mix them well with a wooden spoon. Place this mix over the inner part of the sardines and roll the fish over it. Then place the rolled fish in an oiled oven pan, separating each roll with a laurel leaf. Sprinkle the remaining mix over the fish. Mix the oil, orange juice and sugar in a cup, then sprinkle this too over the fish. You can also garnish with very thin orange slices. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes, then take the pan out and cover it with a cloth. Wait for half an hour and serve.