Sicilian stuffed sardines

This typical Sicilian recipe for stuffed sardines makes the perfect starter or main course.


Stuffed sardines (sarde a beccafico in Italian) is one most traditional and well-loved dishes in Sicily - and there are many Sicilian recipes are based on sardines. Traditionally, sardines were used as a substitute for more expensive fish, allowing the less well off to recreate the dishes the noblemen were accustomed to eating.

'Beccafico' is the name of a small bird, a warbler, with very flavourful meat that consumes figs during the summertime, becoming quite plump. Noble Sicilians would catch and eat these birds, stuffed with their innards. This dish was beyond the poorer population who tried to recreate with dish with other ingredients. The small birds were substituted with less-expensive sardines and were stuffed with breadcrumbs rather than innards. Sicilian stuffed sardines became very popular in Sicily and are now considered an important part of the island’s cuisine.


Link to full recipe (courtesy of Academia Barilla)


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Cooking style
Preparation: Moderate
  • Omega-3 fats:


    Omega-3 fats are a group of unsaturated fats that we need to stay healthy – especially for heart health. Eating foods high in omega-3 fats could help to prevent heart attacks and strokes.


    There are different types of omega-3 fats which are found in different foods. The main ones are:


    ALA (alpha linolenic acid)

    • ALA is essential for good health, but our bodies can’t make it, so we need to get it from the foods we eat. It’s mainly found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.


    EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

    • We need these types of omega-3 fats for a healthy heart and blood circulation. Our bodies can make some of these fats from the ALA in the food we eat, but only a small amount. So, it’s good to eat foods that already contain them.


    Oily fish including sardines, salmon, trout and mackerel are the best source of EPA and DHA.