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25 mins
Sicilian Stuffed Sardines Recipe

Sicilian Stuffed Sardines

Rating 4-5 out of 5 - Most cooks definitely will make this recipe again

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Sicilian Stuffed Sardines is, as you might imagine, a dish of butterflied sardines stuffed with a delight of lovely ingredients. The plump stuffed fish with their tails sticking out are said to resemble the beccafico, a little bird found in Italy that loves to eat figs. Thus, the Italian name for this dish is sarde alla beccafico. As always, there are a number of variations on this dish. Some cooks add diced caciocavallo cheese to the stuffing and the stuffed sardines are dipped in flour and fried instead of baked. Others soak the currants or raisins in Marsala wine or add saffron to the filling. Whatever variation you like, it's easy to make and quite delicious.

      Preparation Time: 15 Minutes

      Cooking Time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients for Sicilian Stuffed Sardines

If you are not familiar with any ingredients, please check our International Cooking Terms page.
US Imperial Measurements  UK Imperial Measurements  Metric Measurements

Currently displaying quantities in US Imperial Measurements
to serve 6:
1 tablespoon
caster sugar (superfine sugar)
2 teaspoons
white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon
olive oil
anchovy fillets
4 slices
white bread
2 teaspoons
drained capers
1½ oz
pine nuts
1½ oz
1 tablespoon
finely chopped mint leaves
bay leaves


How to Cook Sicilian Stuffed Sardines

  1. Scale the sardines by running a knife blade down each side "against" the normal lie of the scales. Remove the head and innards of each sardine. Cut the crusts from the bread and use a blender to break it into fine breadcrumbs. Zest the lemon and squeeze the juice from both the lemon and orange. Whisk the lemon and orange juices, sugar, vinegar and ¼ teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper in a small bowl then set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the anchovy fillets and cook for 1 minute, stirring, or until melted. Add 2½oz (70g) breadcrumbs and cook for a further 4 minutes or until light golden. Remove from the heat, add the lemon zest, capers, pine nuts, sultanas and mint and stir to combine. Season with pepper and set aside.
  3. Scatter 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs over the base of a lined oven tray. Place 12 of the filleted sardines, skin-side down, in a baking dish and spread 2 teaspoons of anchovy filling over each. Top with the remaining 12 sardines, skin-side up, and place a bay leaf between each sardine pair. Drizzle with the lemon and orange mixture and scatter over the remaining 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs. Bake in a preheated moderately hot oven (Mk 6 - 400ºF - 200ºC) for 10 minutes or until the sardines are just cooked. Eat while hot with a few new potatoes and fried tomato.

Here's a simple method for cleaning sardines that will simplify your life.
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Reviews of Sicilian Stuffed Sardines

Rating 5 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again September 14 2013
Love sardines - so good for you - and this is a gorgeous dish. I think sardines may be my absolute favorite fish. I like it oily and fishy yumm. The sad part is that fresh sardines are hard to come by here in the West coast well at least in the San Franciso area. Every now and then I find good ones from Monterrey Bay and when I do I get a lot! These were so easy to make (particualry after I read the page on cleaning sardines the easy way). I served them with a wedge of lemon and some crusty bread for lunch and everyone just loved them.
(1 review)
Rating 5 out of 5 - Many cooks will make this recipe again January 26 2013
This is a truly authentic version of Stuffed Sardines from the Catania / Messina region of Sicily. Most people get this so wrong, but this recipe is 100% on the money. Fabulous. Hope you try it. It makes a better main dish than any antipasto.
(1 review)

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