With more than 25 years of experience in the industry and the disposition of a warm (but tough) Italian mother, it’s not surprising that we really enjoyed our time cooking with Etna‘s Executive Chef, Anna Borrasi. The spotlight today falls on her signature Anchovies Beccafico – essentially baked stuffed anchovies – that’s guaranteed to be a hit at your dinner parties.
Tip: if you can’t get fresh anchovies, you can use sardines or mackerel too!
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 900g fresh anchovies
- 1 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 1/3 cup raisins, plumped in water
- 2 tablespoons minced parsley
- 8 tinned anchovy fillets, finely chopped
- 6 black olives, pitted and slivered
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 lemon, juice and zest
- 1 orange , juice and zest
- 1 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 2 dozen bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Gut and clean anchovies. Remove head and split open to remove backbone, but do not cut in half.
In a heavy skillet, over low flame, brown breadcrumbs in 2 tablespoons olive oil with the garlic. When golden, take off heat and stir in pine nuts, raisins, parsley, tinned anchovy, olives, orange and lemon zest. Moisten with 1 – 2 tablespoons additional oil if mixture is dry.
Place a spoonful of mixture in the centre of each fresh anchovy that’s split open. Roll up (without closing) starting with edge opposite the tail. When rolled, place side by side in baking dish with tail sticking up. Place a bay leaf between each fish.
Mix the lemon and orange juice together. When ready to bake, sprinkle with sugar or honey and then with the citrus juices. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Serve either hot or cold – it tastes awesome either way.
the final product