Thursday, August 6, 2015

Stuffed sardines Catania style

This dish is homage to my time spent in Sicily. When I heard of my inlaws' impending trip to Dubai, Malta and Sicily, it didn't take long to convince hubby that we were going to tag along. A week of last minute organising flights and accommodation, it was one of the craziest things I have done.

Whereas we had managed to secure a beautifully decorated hotel, Shalai in town with alfresco murals adorning the ceiling, my inlaws had managed to secure a homestead just outside of Linguglossa. With views to an active Mt Etna spewing smoke into the sky, surrounded with olive trees, fruit orchard with a secret garden feel.

We headed into town for our usual supply of pecorino, assortment of salamis, delicacies and biscuits. Whilst in town, we spied the local fish shop and checked out the fresh catch of the day. The sardines caught my eye, as well as the copious amounts of young and mature pecorino and crusty bread.

Unbeknownst to us, the town had been decorated overnight with flags of pink. With blaring music, the locals out and about, I came across a van selling paraphernalia for the 2011 Giro d'italia. 

My lightbulb moment.

Click! It's the cycling race which is the precursor to the Tour de France. How exciting to be here whilst it was all happening.

With growing excitement in the air, we were told the race would be passing straight past the house. I was surprised at the number of support crew but understanding mishaps happen in minutes, it's best to be prepared. Watching numerous skodas driving past, motorbikes weaving in and out of steady queue of support and media cars, policemen on stanby posted along the route.

Not knowing when the race was happening, we were pacing from the back to the front of the house. The growing crescendo of beeping horns signalled that the peloton was on approach.

These lean athletes were within eyeshot, climbing the long ascent to where we were standing before whizzing past in the blink of an eye. There may have been a few stragglers which we cheered on with gusto.

It may be the closest I was going to get to Alberto Contador, who also won the race a few days later. Standing beside my inlaws, I must have looked like a loony waving a rainbow coloured sun umbrella in my bright pink Gira d'Italia tshirt cheering as the cyclist flew past. Hubby lugged our 6 month bub who looked rather bewildered at the whole experience.
It was soon back to lunch, setting up the front porch with pillows and blankets for bubba to explore.

The boys, ahem men, made fire to bbq our sardines. Lunch was a success with a glass of the Mt Etna white in hand. One of the many amazing memories on this trip.

Counting down the days til the next trip which is in a few more sleeps time.


Serves 4


800g sardines, filleted and cleaned
100g bread with crusts removed
100g aged pecorino cheese, grated 
Italian parsley
Plain flour
Sunflower oil
Red wine vinegar


1. Bone the sardines and soak in vinegar for 20mins. Dry and lay flat. 

2. Soak the bread in the vinegar. Wring out, mix with cheese and chopped parsley. 

3. Spread a little of the stuffing on the flesh side of half the sardines. 

4. Lie another sardine on the top, forming a kind of sandwich and seal thoroughly. 

5. Flour and fry in oil.

Handy hints

I have found filleted sardines at the Sydney Fish Market at De Costi for about $10 which removes the fiddly work of having to do it yourself.

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