Sarde a Beccafico is an ancient dish in the Sicilian gastronomic tradition, especially in Palermo. This recipe is originally Sicilian and has been officially recognized and included in the list of traditional Italian food products (P.A.T) of the Ministry of Agricultural, Food, and Forestry Policies.

Sarde a beccafico

I am very happy today because I am sharing a recipe that requires the freshest of ingredients. Finding them here in Philadelphia is very difficult since sardines are very common in the Mediterranean Sea and barely in the ocean.

Sarde

Luckily, this morning, my husband went to the fish market and miraculously brought me the sardines. And they were actually decently fresh—I couldn’t believe it!

The recipe’s origins date back to the Kingdom Bourbons in Sicily, where the Sicilian aristocracy in the kitchen was very lavish; French chefs (employed by the Sicilian aristocracy) cooked their best dishes of that time, including the “beccafico” which means “beak of fig” because the recipe first included a bird that loved eating figs so much that they named them after that peculiar trait.

sarde a beccafico

The chefs prepared it stuffed with their entrails and the bird’s innards.

For the poorer people back then, obviously, these birds were luxurious, but they could not afford it. So, the commoner women of Palermo reworked the recipe using the most economical animal they could find, the sardine, filling them with breadcrumbs.

Sarde a Beccafico

Sarde a Beccafico – Original Sicilian Recipe

Prep Time 20 mins Cook Time 20 mins Total Time 40 mins Difficulty: Intermediate Servings: 4 Best Season: Summer

Description

Sarde a Beccafico is an ancient dish in the Sicilian gastronomic tradition, especially in Palermo.

Ingredients

Instructions

    • Scale, gut, and take out the central bone and head of the sardines.
    • Wash and dry (leave the tail), split them open horizontally long ways from the neck down, and open it like you would a book.
    • Put the breadcrumbs in a non-stick pan with oil and minced garlic.
    • Let it brown over low heat; be careful not to burn it.
    • Put the breadcrumbs in a bowl that you have prepared, and add the raisins, pine nuts, sugar, salt, pepper, and finely chopped parsley. Mix well.
    • Put some of the stuffing in each sardine and roll it up so you obtain a roll and place it in an oiled pan with a bay leaf and an orange slice.
    • Continue alternating the sardine roll and a bay leaf in a line.
    • Add olive oil to the sardine rolls and orange juice, sprinkle with breadcrumbs, and bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes at 180°C (356°F).
Keywords: sarde a beccafico
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