Apart from the fennel balls, I prepared another antipasto for my Sicilian dinner: Sarde a Beccafico. We really liked this dish when we had it at Tischi Toschi, and I copied the presentation from there. Sarde a Beccafico can be served either as antipasto or as secondo (main course). Sardines are stuffed with bread crumbs, raisins, anchovies, parsley, pine nuts, sugar, and baked in the oven with some orange juice. This dish is very tasty and easy to prepare if you ask the fishmonger to turn the sardines into fillets for you.
They can be served warm or at room temperature. It won’t come as a surprise that the most important aspect is the freshness of the sardines. I’ve based my version mostly on Giallo Zafferano.
12 sardine fillets
25 grams (2 1/2 Tbsp) raisins, soaked in warm water and drained
25 grams (2 1/2 Tbsp) pine nuts
1 tsp sugar
2 anchovies, minced
50 grams (1/4 cup) bread crumbs
1/2 Tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
juice of 1/2 orange
orange and lemon slices for garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper
A dry Sicilian white would be traditional for this, but we enjoyed it with a riesling from Alto Adige. Riesling goes very well with citrus fruit, and the minerality of a riesling from Alto Adige makes it go well with the sardines and anchovies.