Sarde a beccafico (original recipe)

Sarde a beccafico, original recipe. This is the traditional recipe of one of the Palermo cuisine 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.

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)

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  • 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. Putting sardines on absorbent paper to remove excess moisture.

Coarsely chop the pine nuts. Put into a pan of an extra virgin olive oil and anchovies and mash with a fork until dissolve them in the oil. Add the breadcrumbs and chopped pine nuts and brown them, stirring frequently. While the toaster, find the raisins for 10 minutes in hot water, 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 'stuffing' modes’ depend on the size of the sardines or anchovies: if they're big enough they can roll it up’ on themselves after putting on each a pile of stuffing, as you see in the upper PHOTOS. If they are small, it's better to 'mate them’ (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 need to be placed tightly to one another so that they 'support’ among them: between one and the other to put the pieces of bay 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!

THE PAIRING: 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 companyTasca d'almerita Accounts, coming from the estate Sallier de La Tour.

Sarde a beccafico

Sarde a beccafico (original recipe)
Sarde a beccafico (original recipe)

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victory January 25, 2016 at 14:52

Very good indeed! I prepared for new year!


Ada Parisi January 26, 2016 at 12:40

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

Assunta March 22, 2013 at 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 at 00:20

Must be great even so, the try.!


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