Dinner/ Fish & Seafood/ Italian recipes

Fish in crazy water – Acqua Pazza

6 June 2020

For my birthday I got the new cookbook ‘Venice’ by Russel Norman, also known for one of his other cookbooks ‘Pulpo’. When leafing through the book, this was one of the first dishes I wanted to try. The tomato sauce looked so rich and appetizing and the fish perfectly cooked. I love any dish where you can mop up the juices with some good crusty bread, that’s sometimes even my favourite part!

Fish in crazy water - Acqua Pazza

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Dinner Italian
By Russel Norman Serves: 4
Prep Time: 14 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 45 minutes

A super simple and tasty Italian fish dish with the most delicious sauce which is best mopped up with some fresh focaccia bread. Recipe from the cookbook Venice, by Russel Norman.


  • Olive oil
  • 4 small whole seabass or 2 bigger ones, insides removed (you can ask your fishmonger to do that for you)
  • 2-3 cloves of sliced garlic (recipe asks for 1 clove, but I always use more)
  • 1 red chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • Seasalt flakes
  • 500 g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 1 small jar of capers
  • A small bunch of chopped parsley
  • A small handful of basil (torn just before adding to the dish, not in advance, or it will turn black)



Wash the fish thoroughly, also checking that all the insides have been removed.


Add a good glug of olive oil in a deep frying pan (of which you also have a lid) on medium heat. Carefully lay the fish next to each other in the pan.


Sprinkle over the sliced garlic, chopped chilli ppper and the seasalt flakes.


After ± 4 minutes carefully flip the fish and then add the halved cherry tomatoes, make sure they're covered by all the cooking juices you have so far. Let bubble away on medium heat for another 4 minutes.


Add the capers and the wine, close off with the lid and let bubble away for another 4 minutes until the fish is fully cooked. You can test if they're done by pricking on the fattest part of the fish, it should slightly flake away. Also the eyes will have turned white.


NB. the cooking time of the fish might be a minute or so longer if you have 2 bigger fish in stead of 4 smaller ones.


Divide the fish over 4 warmed plates.


Add the parsley and basil to the pan and turn up the heat and let reduce for a few minutes, the sauce will become shiny and thicker. Scoop the sauce over the fish and serve with fresh crusty bread.

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