Project Description

Easy Acqua Pazza Fish

This seafood dish traditionally consists of poached white fish with a flavoursome broth ladled on top. “Aqua pazza” literally translates to “crazy water.” This may originate with Italian fishermen long ago who would prepare their fresh catch right on their boats with salty sea water and other seasonings they had on hand. Some chefs still poach the fish in salted soda water and that works well too. However, the key is making sure that “crazy water” broth is well seasoned. Using whole fish gives more flavour to the broth but this way is very quick.

Serves 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 12 minutes


2 tablespoons (40 ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 punnet red or mixed grape tomatoes
¼ cup (60 ml) dry white wine
1 small red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced (optional)
¼ cup (40 g) seedless Kalamta olives
300 – 350g skinless fish fillets (Patagonian toothfish, perch, barramundi or ling)
1/3 cup basil leaves, roughly torn

To serve:  Garlic crostini or toasted sourdough drizzled with extra virgin olive oil


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) oil over low–medium heat and fry garlic for a minute or two until fragrant, but not brown. Add tomatoes and fry for a further minute. Pour in wine, 2/3 cup (160 ml) water, add the chilli, if using, and cook for 5 minutes or until tomatoes are just soft. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Either poach fish in this broth, covering the pan for no more than 5 minutes, or in salted soda water. In either case, reduce heat to a simmer after it returns to the boil after adding the fish.
  3. Stir basil into the broth and immediately ladle the fish and broth into bowls. Drizzle with remaining oil and serve with garlic crostini or toasted sourdough drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, if desired.

If you like this recipe you may also like the simplicity of Prawns Poached in Lemongrass Broth