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Sarde a Beccafico (Stuffed Sardines Sicilian-Style)

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INGREDIENTS

Ingredients for the Sardines:

  • Cleaned sardines: 520 g (18.3 oz)
  • Bay leaves: to taste

For the Filling:

  • Breadcrumbs: 50 g (1.8 oz)
  • Raisins: 25 g (0.9 oz, approx. 6 tsp
  • Parsley: 10 g (0.35 oz, approx. 6 tbsp)
  • Pine nuts: 25 g (0.9 oz, approx. 3 tbsp)
  • Anchovy fillets in oil: 15 g (0.53 oz)
  • Sugar: 15 g (0.53 oz, approx. 3.5 tsp)
  • Fine salt: to taste
  • Black pepper: to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 20 g (1.4 tbsp)

For the Emulsion:

  • Acacia honey: 35 g (1.2 oz, approx. 5 tsp)
  • Extra virgin olive oil: 10 g (0.7 tbsp)
  • Orange juice: 35 g (1.2 oz, approx 1/6 cup)

PROCEDURE

To prepare the sardines in beccafico, first make sure your sardines are already cleaned (you'll need 520 g / 18.3 oz of sardines opened like a book). If not, you can follow our guide on how to clean anchovies; the process will be the same. Then proceed to prepare the filling. Start by rinsing and soaking the raisins in cold water for about ten minutes. Next, drizzle some oil in a pan, add the breadcrumbs and toast them for a couple of minutes over medium heat, stirring continuously.

Meanwhile, chop the parsley and roughly chop the anchovies. In a bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, drained and squeezed raisins, pine nuts, anchovies, parsley, sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix everything and set it aside. Grease a 20x20 cm (8x8 inch) baking dish and proceed to stuff the sardines. Place some of the filling on each sardine and roll it up starting from the head to form a roll. Arrange the sardines neatly in the baking dish so that they are close to each other. Take the bay leaves, if they are very large, cut them in half; otherwise, use them whole. Place the bay leaves between the rolls.

Now, sprinkle the surface with the remaining filling. Now, prepare the emulsion. In a small bowl, combine the acacia honey, orange juice, and olive oil. Quickly whisk to emulsify, then drizzle it over the sardines using a spoon. Bake in a preheated static oven at 200°C (390°F) for about 20-25 minutes. Then, remove from the oven and serve.

HOW TO STORE

Sardines in beccafico can be stored in the fridge for up to a couple of days.

TIPS

If you want to prepare sardines in the Catania style, in the filling, you should replace half of the breadcrumbs with an equal weight of grated pecorino cheese and add chopped garlic or onions. Additionally, the mixture is spread on the flesh of one sardine, which is then sandwiched with another sardine (with the skin facing outward). These are then dipped in beaten egg, coated with breadcrumbs, and fried.

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