A Sandwich A Day: Sarde a Beccafico on Semolina at Cafe Catania, Brooklyn
In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
At cozy Cafe Catania in Brooklyn Heights, the sandwich list is impressive. But I'd recommend you skip the menu and go for a manager's suggestion: their sarde a beccafico on semolina with a bed of arugula and a healthy squeeze of lemon ($11.75). Pricey, but more than worth it.
The sarde a beccafico is made by first stuffing a sardine, imported from Lisbon, with breadcrumbs, raisins, pine nuts and Romano cheese. A second sardine is then layered on top; these are breaded and fried before being finished in the oven. Moist beneath the crunch of the crumbs, the fish's flavor is mellowed out by the stuffing, the pine nut flavor of that stuffing coming through most powerfully. Not too oily, the bite is lighter than it might look; the tart lemon and salty, sea-breeze flavor of the sardines potent but balanced. A thoughtful match, the toasted semolina doesn't complicate matters, instead blending in and absorbing the filling to create a unified whole.