Sarde a beccafico Oven-baked omelettes with mushrooms, red onion and Taggiasca olives

The Sarde A Beccafico I’m a typical dish of Sicilian cuisine. The Palermo version, which is the one we present to you, sees the sardines become delicious rolls with a sweet and sour filling made with raisins (a type of raisin found in many recipes from this region), Pine nuts And bread crumbs. There are also similar ingredients in Pasta con le sarde and in Pasta c’anciova.

Like so many traditional recipes, each family will prepare them according to their own custom: for example, there are those who also add slices of lemon together with bay leaves or those who combine grated pecorino in the filling to make it tastier.

To make this second dish (or appetizer) iconic is also its origin. What does “beccafico” mean? The beccafico is a little bird very fond of figs, of which the Sicilian nobles of the 1800s particularly appreciated the meat.

To imitate the bundle that was presented on the table and thus make the popular recipe meat was replaced with fish – sardines were available in quantity – stuffed with readily available ingredients such as raisins, breadcrumbs and pine nuts. The tails of the sardines that remain visible in the roll recall those of the little bird.

OTHER TASTY RECIPES: Fried sardines, sfincione potatoes, Pasta with broccoli in a carriage

Preparation time
40 min
Cooking time

20 min



Total time

1h and 10 min

How to prepare: Sarde a beccafico

Sarde a beccafico preparation - Phase 1

Sarde a beccafico preparation - Phase 1

Start preparing the beccafico sardines starting from cleaning the fish (if you haven’t already cleaned it at the time of purchase). Peel them, remove the entrails and open the sardines like a book, leaving the tail. Rinse them carefully and dab with kitchen paper, placing the sardines on a cutting board in an orderly manner. In a pan, toast the breadcrumbs with oil and a pinch of salt: in doing so, always mix, or the breadcrumbs risk sticking to the pan.

Sarde a beccafico preparation - Phase 2

Sarde a beccafico preparation - Phase 2

Transfer the breadcrumbs to a large bowl and add the teaspoon of sugar, raisins previously soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, pine nuts, chopped parsley and pepper to taste. Mix everything well. If the mixture is loose, add a little water.

Sarde a beccafico preparation - Phase 3

Sarde a beccafico preparation - Phase 3

At this point stuff the sardines: put a knob of filling at the base of the sardine, on the side where the head was and roll it up, leaving the tail in view. As you make the “rolls” arrange them in an ovenproof dish. Proceed until all the sardines are used up.

Preparation of Sarde a beccafico - Phase 4

Sarde a beccafico preparation - Phase 4

Alternate the sardine rolls with bay leaves (if they are too big cut them in half), inserted between one row and the other. Pour in the orange juice and complete with a drizzle of oil. If you have some filling left over, you can sprinkle it on the surface. Bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven: the beccafico sardines are ready to be served.