Home » Sarde a beccafico (Sicilian original recipe)

Sarde a beccafico (Sicilian original recipe)

Citrus scented and baked

by Ada Parisi
5 min read

Sarde a beccafico, original recipe. This is the traditional recipe of one of the dishes of the the kitchen of Palermo par excellence (my mother is from Palermo), It is named after a bird, Il beccafico. I leave the version of my grandmother and I suggest you take a look also to all my SICILIAN RECIPES and to the RECIPES WITH BLUE FISH, sustainable and that does so much good. Sardinians are part of the Sicilian gastronomic tradition. Recipes such as PASTA WITH SARDINES or the SARDINES GRATIN are an example of this. But also the SARDINES STUFFED WITH BUFFALO MOZZARELLA I must try.

The history of the Sardinian warbler

The warbler is a volatile and, as such, It was considered a luxury food, the Sicilian nobles hunted and ate in banquet facilities, where was prepared with their own entrails. Who was not noble, has' ingegnato’ and it replaced the warbler with a poor product of which there was great availability: sardines. For stuffing, due to the lack of entrails, the farmer's ingenuity has put together breadcrumbs, lemon, raisins, pine nuts, parsley and oil. And a pinch of sugar, for that bittersweet taste that is typical of my wonderful Sicily. Simple but tasty ingredients.

The original recipe of Sardinian warbler obviously involves the use of sardines, but you can do it with anchovies or anchovies, as sardines find outside Sicily and Trieste is not so easy. Provided, however, the anchovies are of a certain size and not too small, otherwise it will be impossible to roll up and lose a lot of time for a mediocre result.

If you want to learn the difference between Sardinian, anchovies and anchovies, read my article SARDE, ANCHOVIES ANCHOVY: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE’ And how to cook. If you used the anchovies, you can farcirle overlapping each other, as you see last photo below.

As with all recipes of the world, Also the Sardinian warbler have many variations depending on the city: there are those who put the capers, those who put the grated pecorino (I really like it and I pointed to him as an optional among the ingredients). Some cook the fries in the oven instead.. Have a nice day!

SARDE A BECCAFICO (Sicilian original recipe)

Portions: 4 Preparation: cooking:
Nutrition facts: 250 calories 20 fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


600 grams of large sardines or anchovies

100 grams of stale bread crumbs

4 anchovy fillets

the juice and zest of an organic lemon

a teaspoon of sugar

chopped parsley, to taste

30 grams of raisins

30 grams pine nuts

Bay leaves, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste

extra virgin olive oil, to taste

20 grams of grated pecorino cheese Dop (Optional)


Sarde a beccafico

To prepare the Palermo dish of Sardinian warbler, Clean and wash the sardines or anchovies and remove the bones, leaving the tail intact. Put sardines on sheets of absorbent paper to eliminate excess moisture.

Coarsely chop the pine nuts. Put a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and anchovies in a pan and crush them with a fork until dissolved in the oil. Add the breadcrumbs and chopped pine nuts and brown them, stirring frequently. While the toaster, find the raisins in hot water for 10 minutes, then squeeze it for good.

Put the mixture of toasted bread and pine nuts in a bowl, then add the grated lemon peel, chopped parsley, the raisins, pine nuts and lemon juice in which you have dissolved sugar. Mix well, adding as much extra virgin olive oil as needed to make a soft dough.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

The methods of 'filling' depends on the size of sardines or anchovies: If they are big enough you can ' roll up ' on themselves after putting on each lump of stuffing, as you see in the upper PHOTOS. If they are small, is better ' rookie ' (bottom PHOTOS): lay them on a cutting board, put on each of them a little of compound and overlaid with another Sardinian.

In both cases, Sardinian warbler be submitted in a lightly greased baking dish extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and breadcrumbs. They should be positioned close to each other so that you 'sorreggano' between them: between one and the other put pieces of laurel leaves. Spray the surface with the remaining lemon juice and finish with a little extra virgin olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Bon appétit!

MATCHING: These sardines, aromatic and tasty, I'm a complex recipe that includes sweetness and acidity, and that brings us to combine a Sicilian wine. Perfect a Inzolia, aromatic and full bodied enough and we have decided that the company Tasca d'almerita Accounts, coming from the estate Sallier de La Tour.

Sarde a beccafico

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Marina Maclean July 2, 2023 - 07:56

Dear Ada, With you you you are right on the safe side. Yesterday I found some spectacular sardines (something not so obvious in my part…) and I followed your recipe. BUONISSSSSSIME !!
Only one defect: the dose was for 4, and we devoured it in 2 !
Always thanks for your work
A hug

Ada Parisi July 6, 2023 - 15:16

Ha ha ha! Even for us the dose for 4 is enough just for two, so quiet! I'm glad you liked them! A dear greeting!

victory January 25, 2016 - 14:52

Very good indeed! I prepared for new year!


Ada Parisi January 26, 2016 - 12:40

Thank you Victory! Is’ one of my favorite fish recipes! A hug, ADA

Assunta March 22, 2013 - 20:34

great are really delicious , I even with gravy ,pitch them in beaten egg and fry them just make some delicious sauce, typical Sicilian do I narrow it down a little’ the gravy and put them in there I cook 10 minutes and enjoy your meal.

fratelli_ai_fornelli March 23, 2013 - 00:20

Must be great even so, the try.!


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