Sarde a Beccafico
2 pounds Fresh sardines
6 spoons Olive oil
1/3 cup Currants
2 spoons ParsleyMinced
6 Black olives(pitted and slivered)
2 dozen Bay leaves
1 cup Breadcrumbs
1/3 cup Pine nuts
8 Anchovy fillets(finely chopped)
1 LemonJuice and zest
“Sarde a beccafico” is one of the best known and loved traditional Sicilian recipes. The “beccafico” that gives the recipe its name is a small sparrow-like bird that feeds on sweet ripe figs. In days gone by only the nobility used to shoot these birds, which were cooked with a delicious stuffing and then served with their beak and tail feathers sticking upwards. In order to imitate the Sicilian nobles, plebeian replaced the small birds with ‘sardines’, a much more affordable product, which they filled with bread crumbs and few more “poor” ingredients.
They can be served as a main course with a side of boiled potatoes, but also as a sharer during the antipasti.
Preheat oven to 350°F
Scale and clean sardines removing intestines and backbones
In a skillet, toast the breadcrumbs with 2 spoons of olive oil
When it becomes gold add pine nuts, currants, parsley, anchovy, olives and lemon zest
Add 1 or 2 spoons of olive oil if it’s dry and mix the ingredients
Put the mixture with a spoon in the middle of each sardine and roll up from the head to the tail
Place the sardines in the baking dish closer, place a bay leaf between each sardine and pour the lemon juice
Cook for 15 minutes and serve at room temperature!