Sardines Beccafico


Post is also available in: Italian

With this dish we land directly in Sicily! And yes, because Sardines Beccafico are a beloved Sicilian dish, now famous throughout Italy. But, for those who don’t know them they are stuffed sardines with a nice tasty stuffing made with breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley, anchovies, pine nuts and other ingredients and then baked in the oven. There are obviously variations of this dish, based on the area of Sicily in which they are prepared.

It’s not a difficult dish to prepare but it takes time. The sardines are small and must be cleaned both inside and out gently so as not to break them. The beccafico sardines lend themselves very well both served as a second course and as an appetizer, or perhaps even for an aperitif. If you like sardines you could try Pasta with Fresh Sardines.

beccafico sardines

The History of Sardines Beccafico

Like any traditional dish, Beccafico sardines also carry a story. This dish was born from the people, as a reinterpretation of a noble dish. The Beccafico was a small, highly prized bird, which in the summer only fed figs (hence its name), becoming particularly fat. The nobles hunted them and were then served stuffed with their own entrails. Being a very valuable animal it was obviously inaccessible to the people, who decided to use sardines. Unlike Beccafico, in fact, this small blue fish was normally available from all and spread throughout the territory, so the people created their version of beccafico, using breadcrumbs, another decidedly inexpensive ingredient to stuff them.

how to cook sardines

Over time, the noble meat dish began to disappear and the version with sardines began to spread more and more. So if you wonder how to cook sardines, this is a great way! Sardines are a fatty blue fish but thanks to the ingredients of the stuffing and baking they are not heavy at all. Absolutely to try also the Sardines Fried, but now let’s dedicate ourselves to our Sardines in Beccafico.

5 from 1 vote

Sardines Beccafico

"A traditional Sicilian dish, fragrant and with a strong taste …"
Servings 4 portions
Prep Time 1 min
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 21 mins


  • 800 g Sardines clean
  • 100 g Pine Nuts
  • 100 g Capers in salt
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 bunch Parsley
  • 50 g Raisins
  • 100 g Soft Inside of Bread or breadcrumbs or panko
  • ½ Lemon Juice
  • to taste Lemon Peel grated
  • to taste Black Pepper
  • to taste Salt


  • Soak the raisins in a bowl of warm water and do the same with the salted capers. Start cleaning the sardines, scaling them, eviscerating them and depriving them of the head. Once finished rinse them with cold water and dry them with kitchen paper.
  • Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil and go over the soft inside of bread (or breadcrumbs). once golden turn off and pour the crumb into a bowl and let it cool.
  • Drain the capers and raisins and chop them together with the garlic, parsley, pine nuts, anchovies, shallots and lemon zest. Add the mince to the bread and mix well.
  • Drain the capers and raisins and chop them together with the garlic, parsley, pine nuts, anchovies, shallots and lemon zest. Add the mince to the bread and mix well.
  • Spread baking paper on a baking sheet and keep it handy. With a teaspoon, take the filling and make it stick to the sardine on the inside (that of the meat). Roll up the sardine so that the tails remain upwards, being careful not to let the filling come out.
  • Heat the oven to 180 ° C.
  • Bake the sardines for 15-20 minutes. Once ready, season them with lemon juice and serve while still hot.


* approximate calorie calculation

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Calories: 702kcal
Course: Apetizer, Second Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Fish
Difficoltà: Easy
Temperatura: 180 °C/356 °F


Serving: 3221g | Calories: 702kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 56g | Fat: 41.2g | Sugar: 11g

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