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Scent of the Sea

The scent of the sea, as intense and full as only the country of Sicily can provide. Dive into the island’s splendid waters, take a stroll along the beach whilst waiting for the sun to set (and the temperature to fall) so that you can dedicate yourself to a pleasurable dinner in the company of friends – perhaps a meal that makes use of all of the flavours that the island, set halfway between Italy and Africa, can bring to the table.

Now is the season to prepare sardines, a blue fish rich in vitamins and minerals and perfect for a healthy, balanced diet. Even better when they taste as good as they do when served in one of the classic Sicilian recipes such as Sarde a Beccafico.

Although this dish is popular across the whole of Sicily, it is prepared in different ways in the main cities of Palermo and Catania. The recipe below is the version used in Palermo, made without pecorino cheese and garlic, and it matches to perfection a good, chilled, fragrant white such as Canti’s Catarratto-Chardonnay Igt Sicilia.

Ingredients for 4:
  •  800gr sardines
  • 1 orange (juice)
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 50gr pine nuts
  • 50gr raisins
  • 100gr breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Set the oven to 200° and clean the sardines, removing the insides, heads and bones, but leaving the tails. Wash them, dry them and open them up lengthways, leaving the two sides connected by a thin strip at the back.

Pour the 4 tablespoons of oil and the breadcrumbs into a pan, heat gently until golden brown and then place into a bowl. Soak the raisins in a little water whilst you chop the parsley.

Then add the pine nuts, raisins, parsley, sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper to the breadcrumbs and mix well. Place the mixture into the sardines and then roll them up starting from the head end and place into a baking dish greased with oil.

Sprinkle the remaining mixture over the sardines and then drizzle with oil, orange juice and a little sugar. Cook for 20-25 minutes and serve.


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