Sarde a beccafico – Sicilian stuffed sardines

4
40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 800g of whole sardines, cleaned, scaled, butterflied, head and spine bone removed
  • 50g of fine breadcrumbs
  • extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 25g of raisins, soaked in warm water
  • 25g of pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp of caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp of parsley, finely chopped
  • 60ml of orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • fine sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • bay leaves, (fresh) for layering

Method

1
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Grease a baking dish with olive oil and set aside
2
Rinse the sardines under cold running water then pat dry
3
In a medium skillet set over a low heat, toast the breadcrumbs until golden and crisp, stirring often to avoid burning. Transfer to a bowl and wet with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Stir to dress evenly
4
Drain the raisins, squeeze dry, then roughly chop them. Add to the breadcrumbs together with the pine nuts, sugar, parsley and orange juice. Season with a generous dash of salt and a few turns of the pepper grinder. Mix all the ingredients together to form a stuffing
5
Place a small amount of stuffing over each sardine fillet. Roll up the fillets, starting from the head and moving towards the tail. Arrange the rolled-up sardines, tail-side up, on the greased baking dish, and tuck fresh bay leaves between them. Sprinkle any remaining stuffing over them, then drizzle with olive oil and season with a pinch of salt
6
Bake the sardines for 20–25 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving