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Fishballs Messina style

Traditional Sicilian recipe

by Ada Parisi
5 min read

Fishballs Messina style. In Trapani and Palermo, are called "maiatica" , But even gianchetti, lattarina, faloppa, nunnata: all these names to indicate one thing. The fish fry. This is a recipe memory, because in fact due to European legislation, fishing for sardines juveniles is prohibited throughout the year. On my You Tube Channel you will also find the VIDEO RECIPE Messina-style baby meatballs. And don't forget to take a look at all my SICILIAN RECIPES. A few equally delicious alternatives? The POTATO AND COD MEATBALLS’, those TUNA AND POTATOES or the SQUID MEATBALLS.

Until 2013 the region of Sicily had obtained derogations from the ban, but at present the juvenile fishing for sardines and anchovies is forbidden by the European Union. The Ministry of Agriculture has granted an authorization notwithstanding (the October 6, 2017 for Calabria and December 17, 2017 Sicily) for lipstick fish fishing (Transparent goby) and sandeel fish.

The use of baby fishes, of juveniles, It is part of the culinary tradition of southern Italy, especially Calabria, Sicily, Puglia, Sardinia. Regions that are opposite in every way to European bans, especially since this type of fishing in other nations, like France, It was granted in derogation. To replace, Besides cicerello and lipstick that can be fished between January and March, the so-called whitebait or ice fish, comes frozen from Indochina. Even if some fishermen don't give up and, between January and February, continues to draw a new small quantities. That you don't have to buy at all, Why it's illegal. Messina-style baby meatballs are delicious, but let us try to prepare them according to the law!

Baby fishes can cook stew (in white or with some’ of fresh tomatoes). And use it for bruschetta or to season pasta, or enjoy raw with a little extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Have a good day!


Portions: 6 Preparation: cooking:
Nutrition facts: 250 calories 20 fat
Rating: 4.8/5
( 4 voted )


600 grams of sand eel or lipstick

2 whole eggs

10 grams of flour 00

chopped parsley

two cloves of garlic

salt and pepper

50 grams of grated pecorino canestrato siciliano or Dop

25 grams of shredded PDO Parmigiano Reggiano

peanut oil for frying


Sicilian fritters of baby girl

Before starting the preparation of the newborn meatballs, look at the VIDEO RECIPE step by step. Place the fish in a large bowl, fill it with cold water, stir gently and allow to soak for 5 minutes. Often inside such small fish are found filaments of algae or even crabs: remove them with a fork. Always gently, draw a baby girl with a fork and put it in a colander. Do not stir water at the bottom of the container, so that any traces of sand remain inert there.

Making school the fish for a few minutes, then put it in a bowl. Finely chop the parsley and garlic and add them to the fish. Add the pecorino, the Parmesan, the eggs, a pinch of salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Mix together and Add flour (a teaspoon, about 10 grams). Stir again until mixture is smooth, as you see in VIDEO RECIPE and let rest in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for 15 minutes.

Heat peanut oil. With the aid of a spoon, meatballs that you will use directly in the hot oil. Cook, turning occasionally baby pancakes on themselves, until the meatballs will not be slightly swollen and golden brown, as you see in VIDEO RECIPE, then put them on paper towels. Serve the pancakes fry with slices of fresh lemon and Taste them warm but not hot. Bon appétit!


MATCHING: The delicate taste of juveniles combined with a lightly fried and aroma suggests a pairing with a white Sicilian discreet and balanced flavor. We chose The Escape, chardonnay grape-based wine produced by the company Donnafugata: tropical scents, savoury taste with good acidity and fruity finish.

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elisabetta 17 January 2018 - 15:10

I know these fantastic meatballs, I tried, They are really delicious, but your recipe has a plus xchè ones I ate at sea were only batter.
Thank you so much x recipe

Ada Parisi 18 January 2018 - 12:07

Thanks Elizabeth. Too bad the true newborn can not fish, we must be content to sandeel ice or frozen fish. Sometimes our rules are really absurd… One kiss, ADA


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