Acqua Pazza or Acquapazza (meaning “crazy water”) is an old recipe of the fishermen of the Neapolitan area. It became very popular in the upscale touristy Capri Island in the ’60s. In the old days, the catch of the day was sautéed in seawater together with tomatoes and extra-virgin olive oil. Fresh fish is a must.
I love this recipe as simple as it is presented here. The recipe can also be enriched with the addition of clams or mussels. You may eventually add the mollusks later on to avoid overcooking them. Capers, anchovies, or olives can also make the dish tastier. Fish broth can be used instead of water.
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves in large dice
4 tablespoons Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 lb (500 g) very ripe cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 lemon, sliced
2 lb (900 g) white fish (orange roughy, bass or cod)
Place the olive oil and garlic in a skillet large enough to receive the fish on medium heat. As soon as the garlic starts coloring, remove the garlic and let the oil cool.
Add water to the pan about 1/2 inch (1 cm) deep.
Add about half of the parsley, the lemon. . .
. . . and the tomatoes.
Add the fish slices, . . .
. . . top with the rest of the parsley. Season the fish lightly with salt. Place the skillet back on the stove on medium heat and bring the water to a boil.
Cook for about 10 -15 minutes, turning the fish to cook on both sides. Make sure the fish is only half covered by water. Adjust the salt, and add pepper if necessary. Serve warm.