Tuesday, July 23 2024

Sarde a Beccafico is a popular Sicilian specialty.

Most claim it is a dish originally from Palermo, although a Catanese version of it is widespread.

The name is a true homage to gourmets, in fact, the Beccafico is a bird that is fond of figs and -as a gourmand- chooses only the ripest ones.

The Catania version includes two stuffed and fried sardines, unlike the Palermo version consisting only of one sardine closed over the “boat-like” filling.

Today I present the Catanese version.





  • 1 kg of fresh sardines (2.2 lb)
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup of pecorino cheese
  • Finely chopped garlic and parsley
  • 5 beaten eggs, 3 for the filling and 2 for breading
  • 1 cup  of all purpose  flour
  • Red wine vinegar, as needed
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, as needed



To get a recipe as close to the original as possible, it is important to buy fresh sardines. (The best season to find the prime product is spring.)

Start by cleaning the sardines by removing their heads and bones.

Soak the cleaned sardines in red vinegar.

The vinegar should cover the fish completely.

This step is used to remove the scales from the sardines, which thus dissolve naturally.

Within half an hour drain the fish from the vinegar (the sardines should appear white in color but if they remain too long in contact with the vinegar they risk flaking off)

Now move on to preparing the filling by beating 3 eggs, add salt and pepper and add the breadcrumbs and finely chopped parsley and garlic.

Add the pecorino cheese and mix the mixture well.

The “stuffing ball” should be closed between two sardine fillets, as if to form a sandwich.

Prepare the base for the breading by beating the eggs.

Dip the stuffed sardines first in the egg and then in flour.

Fry in hot evo oil for a few minutes until the sardines appear golden and crispy.

Serve them hot and be careful, they are so good they will be gone in no time!

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