Sardines in savor and white wine

The dish of “Sarde in savor” or “Sarde a beccafico” has a history rooted in antiquity and has undergone several evolutions over the centuries. This culinary preparation, originally from the Republic of Venice and Sicily, involves the use of fresh sardines stuffed with a mixture of tasty ingredients and then cooked in a sauce based on white wine.


The origin of the dish of Sardines in savor can be traced back to the time of ancient Greece. Sardines were abundant in the waters of the Mediterranean and were fished and used in the cuisine of the island of Sicily. The Greeks, who colonized part of Sicily, are said to have introduced the practice of stuffing sardines with a mixture of ingredients, including raisins, pine nuts, bread crumbs, parsley and spices.

Over the centuries, the dish of Sardines in savor has undergone influences and modifications from different cultures that have dominated Sicily, including the Romans, Arabs and Spaniards. Each culture has left its mark on the preparation, introducing new ingredients and cooking methods.

During Roman times, the dish of Sarde in savor was considered a delicious delicacy, often served as a main course at banquets. The Romans used exotic spices and condiments such as garum (a sauce made from fermented fish) to enrich the flavor of sardines.

During the period of Arab occupation in Sicily, which took place between the eighth and thirteenth centuries, the influences of Middle Eastern cuisine were felt in the dish of Sarde in savor. The Arabs introduced ingredients such as sugar, cinnamon and citrus, adding a touch of sweetness and a spicy note to the preparation.

Over the following centuries, even at the Repubbiica of Venice the dish of Sarde in savor has undergone further modifications and adaptations according to local preferences and available ingredients. However, the common element remained the filling of sardines and cooking in a sauce based on white wine.

Today, the dish of Sarde in savor is a specialty appreciated in Sicilian cuisine and is served as an appetizer or main course. The sardines are still stuffed with a mixture of raisins, pine nuts, bread crumbs, parsley and spices, such as oregano and black pepper. They are then cooked in a sauce prepared with white wine, olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.

Here is the recipe for sardines in savor:


  • 1 kg of fresh sardines
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 100 g raisins
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 100 ml white vinegar
  • 100 ml water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • corn flour to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil to taste
  • salt to taste


  1. Clean the sardines, removing the head, the entrails and the central bone, then wash them well under running water and dab them with kitchen paper to dry them.
  2. Flour the sardines by passing them in corn flour and shake them slightly to remove excess flour.
  3. In a non-stick pan, heat a little extra virgin olive oil together with a crushed clove of garlic and a chopped onion. Sauté for a few minutes, then add the sardines and cook over medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes on both sides, until golden brown. Transfer the sardines to a plate and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add another clove of crushed garlic, raisins, pine nuts and a bunch of finely chopped parsley. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often, then add vinegar, water, sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix everything well and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, until the savor has thickened.
  5. Arrange the sardines on a serving plate, cover them with the savor and let them rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour before serving. You can accompany the sardines in savor with fresh bread and dry white wine.

Wine pairing

With this recipe that is one of the most classic Venetian recipes: fried sardines, marinades with onion, vinegar, pine nuts and raisins. The use of vinegar is consistent, but the harmony of the dish is such as to pleasantly blend the sour and the sweet, “‘calling’ a white wine with a floral and fruity bouquet.

Veneto offers several: for example Soave, Lugana, Pinot Bianco dei Colli Euganei. Nearby Friuli suggests Sauvignon del Collio.

The Sarde in savor , with their intense and tasty taste, lend themselves to being paired with a variety of white wines that are fresh and aromatic. Here are some pairing tips:

  1. Dry and fresh white wine: A dry and fresh white wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Vermentino can be an excellent choice to accompany the Sardines in savor. These wines are characterized by notes of citrus, herbs and a pleasant acidity that harmonizes with the strong flavor of sardines.
  2. Aromatic white wine: An aromatic white wine such as a Gewürztraminer or a Riesling can create an interesting combination with sardines in savor. These wines are rich in floral, spicy and exotic fruit aromas, which go well with the complexity of the flavors of the dish.
  3. Slightly sweet white wine: If you prefer a pairing with a touch of sweetness, a slightly sweet white wine like a Moscato d’Asti or a Kabinett Riesling can be a delicious choice. The sweetness of the wine can balance the salty taste of sardines and create a pleasant contrast.
  4. Local white wine: If you want to enhance the typical flavors of the area, you can opt for a local white wine that goes well with Sardines in savor. For example, if you’re in Sicily, you could try a white wine from Mount Etna like a Carricante or a white wine from the islands like a Malvasia delle Lipari.

Remember that wine-food pairing is subjective and depends on individual preferences. It is always advisable to experiment and find the combination that best suits your personal tastes. In addition, consider that the freshness of the wine and the serving temperature are important to better appreciate the combination with Sarde in savor.

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