Beccafico” - "Sardi a Beccaficu")
The largest cities in Sicily are Catania and Palermo. Both cities are impressive, rich with history, art and famous
persons that have made them outstanding. But for unknown reasons that go back to pristine times, there is a rivalry
between the citizens of the two cities which gives birth to arguing about any subject from sport to business, even
contending a dispute that goes back to the III century, if the birth place of Saint Agatha, the patron Saint of
Catania, was Palermo or Catania.
They will debate politics taking opposite views and never reaching a compromise, dispute which of the two cities is
cleaner and there is no argument that is not worth debate, it does not matter how irrelevant it is.
When talking over about the origin of Sicilian famous dishes likearancine, the rice
eggplant salad,pasta con sarde o
melenzane, the pasta with fennels and sardines or with eggplant,bruciulone, the
stuffed meat loaf to name a few, the heated discussions never end unless one of the contestants gets some wine and
conclude the debate with a snack and a glass of wine, usually bragging about his homemade wine as the best in the
One of the courses whose origin they would never agree upon is thesarde a
beccafico,the stuffed sardines: a delicacy made in Catania and in Palermo of which the only similarity is in
the same name that they share and the use of the sardines and other ingredients. In Palermo, the beccafico are
baked, in Catania the beccafico are fried.
medium size onion, diced
cups of toasted breadcrumbs
anchovy fillets, chopped. If salted wash salt out
of 2 lemons
tablespoons of sugar
of olive oil
currants or raisins
slices of onions, 1 for every sardine
Slices of lemon for
oiled pan 12 inches X 9 inches
Cut off the head of the sardines.
In a large basin with cold water, immerse sardines, and scale them under water (to avoid a big mess) using a
teaspoon or your nails. Discard interior and by inserting the finger under the bone, eliminate it. Open the
sardines leaving the two sides connected and the tail intact. Wash and drain.
Sauté the onions in ½ cup of olive oil and after 7 minutes add breadcrumbs. Cook for 2 minutes and set on the side
in a large bowl.
When breadcrumbs cool off, add juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of sugar, fillets of anchovies, pinoli, currants and
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Gently tap dry the sardines fillets with paper towels, place 1 tablespoon of breadcrumb on the large side of the
fillet(opposite the tail), fold and roll up and arrange stuffed sardines in the oiled pan, tail up.
Alternate a slice of onion and a bay leaf between each Sarda a Beccafico.
Wisk remaining olive oil with lemon and sugar, and sprinkle over sardines, shake leftover breadcrumb mixture on
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Serve hot or at room temperature. Garnish with sliced lemon.