Recipe video above. This is a recipe that showcases Italian cooking at its best: a handful of simple ingredients to create something magical! Fish is half poached, half steamed in a tomato-white wine based sauce, then served over crispy garlic crostini.The literal translation of this dish is "fish in crazy water". Maybe because who would think that fish poached in water could be so delicious? That's crazy! :)
Keyword: Acqua Pazza, poached fish, steamed fish
2x 180g/6ozsnapper fillets, or other white fish,, skin on, bones and scales removed (Note 1)
Sauté fennel and onion: Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add fennel and onion, cook 4 minutes until softened but not golden.
Garlic and chilli: Add garlic and chilli, cook for 1 minute until garlic is softened.
Tomatoes: Add cherry tomatoes, cook for 4 minutes.
Reduce wine: Turn stove up to high, add wine and simmer rapidly for 2 - 3 minutes until reduced by half.
Simmer sauce: Add water and salt, and the basil & parsley stems if you kept them. Bring to boil, then lower stove to medium and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes until sauce reduces by about 2/3 (it will thicken from tomatoes breaking down).
Cook fish: Sprinkle flesh side of fish with salt, then place on sauce skin side down (it will mostly sit above sauce). Cover with lid (or foil or tray) and cook for 6 minutes or until internal temperature registers 55°C/131°F (for medium, no rare/raw left with optimum juiciness).
Remove fish: Remove lid, transfer fish to plate.
Add herbs: Remove basil and parsley stems. Stir basil and parsley into sauce. Taste sauce, add more salt if required.
Place 2 crostini in a shallow bowl. Spoon over a bit of the chunky sauce, top with fish. Spoon remaining sauce around.
Garnish with extra basil and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F (all types).
Brush olive oil on bread, sprinkle with a bit of salt. Flip and repeat. Bake 10 minutes, turning halfway, or until fully crispy.
Rub bread lightly on one side with cut face of garlic. Use warm or at room temperature.
1. Fish – Any fairly firm white fish fillets that aren't too thick will work just fine here. Here are some suggestions: o Snapper (this is what I used, it's perfect!), dory, barramundi (try to get the thinner fillets), bream, tilapia, halibut, pollock, cod, emperors, whiting, flathead, perch, ling, bass, basa, hake, hoki, gummy shark.Skin-on is preferred as it helps the fillets hold their shape, but if your fillets are skinless or you dislike poached fish skin, without skin still works fine.Small whole fish would also work just fine. Cut a few slashes so it cooks evenly and faster to ensure there's still juices left in the pan when the fish is done.2. Chilli – Use large red chilli (cayenne pepper), which are not very spicy. It's barely there – just a subtle hum of warmth in the background, definitely not spicy at all. Feel free to leave it out or go even spicier!3. Wine – Wine really adds complexity into this otherwise simple dish, so don't skip it! For maximum effect, go for a full-bodied chardonnay (I prefer unwooded, but that's personal preference), otherwise any dry white wine will be suitable. Non-alcoholic substitute: low sodium chicken or fish stock, and reduce salt in sauce by 1/4 tsp.4. Bread – Best to use a bread that's got a bit of structure and heft to it: ciabatta, pane di casa / pain de campagne, stone-baked loaf or a sourdough. If you use the soft white baguettes, the crostini will soak through immediately once sauced and just become soggy. You want it to stay crispy even once sauced so you can pile it up with the fish and vegetables – it's the best eating experience!Slice on a suitable diagonal angle so you get long thin pieces that are at least the length of the fish fillet, if not longer.5. Best made fresh. If you have leftovers, keep fish and sauce separate from crostini. Microwave / steam reheat fish and sauce, then assemble.6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 2 slices of crostini. Shave off 62 cal per serving by reducing cooking olive oil from 2 tbsp down to 1 tbsp.