Sicilian Wraps - Involtini alla Siciliana – Fish
When you say Sicilian wraps or Involtini alla Siciliana most Italians understand exactly what you are talking about. I am not really sure why this is. The Sicilian wraps are made with both meat and fish however the version with fish is more prevalent. Interestingly, both the method of preparation and the basic ingredients for the filling change based on whether fish or meat is used to wrap these little delights. The fish used to wrap the filling is most often fresh Sardines however I have had them with swordfish, shark and tuna. They are all marvelously tasty and surprisingly well balanced. In a restaurant you will see them as: Involtini di Sarde alla Siciliana, Involtini di Pesce Spada alla Siciliana, Involitini di Tuna alla Siciliana.
While the fish filets used for the wrap are savory the Sicilian wraps are quite delicate. They can be used both as an appetizer and an entrée. The Garlic, Italian Parsley, Pecorino cheese and ground Pinoli wrapped in the savory fish are a perfect combination of earth and sea. The hint of garlic in filling requires a more robust wine than say, a Pinot Grigio. I would offer a Grillo Arancio or one of the lighter reds if white is not your thing.
1 ½ lbs (600 g) of Fresh Sardines
¼ lbs (120 g) stale bread (bread crumbs will be ok if you do not have stale bread)
3 tbsp crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp abundant minced Italian Parsley
½ cup Dry White Wine
½ Clove Garlic crushed and minced
2 tbsp grated Pecorino Cheese
1 small egg
5 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
2 cups white vinegar (I use apple vinegar but any one will do)
Clean the Sardines. Remove the head, interior and skeleton. Open the Sardines like a book. Wash the Sardines in the vinegar and rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
If using stale bread, break it into pieces and toast it in a skillet over medium heat. Place the bread in a food processor and chop. Add the Pinoli to the processor and reduce everything to a large grain. If using breadcrumbs, place in the food processor with the Pinoli and chop.
Return the Pinoli breadcrumbs mixture to the skillet and add 3 tbsp of olive oil. Sautee the mixture for a few minutes. As soon as the breadcrumbs start to brown add ½ of the white wine. Add the crushed tomatoes and reduce for 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and place in a bowl. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
To the mixture add the Pecorino cheese, Garlic, Italian Parsley, egg, salt and pepper. Mix the ingredients of the filling with your hands. Work everything together thoroughly.
Spread the Sardines on a flat surface. Spoon the filling in the center. The amount should create a mound about the size of the index finger. Roll the filet of Sardine around the filling like a cinnamon roll. Close the rolls with wooden skewers.
Heat the oven to 375. Use the remaining olive oil to grease a baking pan. Place the rolls, one next to the other, in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining wine over the rolls. Cook the Sardines for 15 minutes.
The Involtini di Sarde alla Siciliana may be served either hot or cold.
Tags: Italian Recipes Sardines Sicily Entrees Gourmet Foods Travel Italy