Sarde a beccafico – Stuffed sardines

This dish, which hails from the Palermo area, has become a culinary classic in many of the island’s coastal towns. One of the best examples of how Sicily’s popular cuisine is capable of creating extremely tasty and complex dishes from humble yet high-quality ingredients that are often overlooked, such as blue fish.


  • 16 sardines (scaled and deboned with head removed, cut lengthwise and spread open to lay flat)
For the filling:
  • 100 g breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • the peel of one lemon grated
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 4 anchovies dissolved in extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 sprig chopped parsley
  • 30 g chopped capers
  • 30 g chopped black olives
  • 25 g chopped raisins
  • 30 g chopped pine nuts
  • 20 g toasted and chopped almonds
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 40 g aged “pecorino” sheep’s milk cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper
  • flour, egg and bread crumbs for the breading


Combine all of the ingredients for the filling thoroughly and spread the mixture on 8 sardines. Place the remaining sardines on top of the filled ones then dip in the raw egg, flour and roll in the breadcrumbs. Fry in hot oil until golden.