First of all I want to specify that this is the recipe of Palermo, it’s important because the recipe of Catania is completely different. Very good too, but I will show it another time 🙂
This is a very simple recipe, but it requires some manual skills, and it’s absolutely important to have very fresh pilchards, because it’s a very delicate fish and if it’s not fresh it will easily break while cleaning it.
It’s a great fish in my opinion: healthy, and also quite cheap 🙂 and very good!
INGREDIENTS (2 people):
- 12-14 pilchards/sardines, count about 300 grams
- 30 g raisins
- 30 g pine nuts
- breadcrumbs, probably about 70-80 grams
- fresh parsley
- 1 clove of garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 orange
- fresh bay leaves, one for each fish
- black pepper
- First of all there is to clean the pilchards: remove the head with your fingers, then put your thumb inside, and start pushing keeping contact with the central bone, until the tail. You will see that it’s very easy to open it like a book. Then carefully remove the bone from the other fillet and remove it, but leave the tail. Then turn the fish on the back and remove also the dorsal fin. Wash away all the interiors and blood, then dry with paper and keep aside. Place also the raisins in cold water, soak for at least 30 minutes.
- Now you have to toast the breadcrumbs, in a pan, until they have a golden/hazelnut color.
- Take a bowl and add the toasted breadcrumbs, the raisins (squeeze them a bit), the pine nuts (you can cut them in larger pieces), the finely chopped parsley, the minced garlic, salt , pepper and a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, enough to get a nice texture easy to handle.
- Now simple take each pilchard, place some breadcrumb on it, and just roll it.
- Place all the fish in an oven pan, greased with olive oil. Between each fish place one leaf of fresh bay leaf.
- Then pour all over the fish an emulsion of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of 1 orange.
- Bake at 180 °C, fan assisted mode, for about 15 minutes.
- Serve it and enjoy 🙂