Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pesce in Acqua Pazza - Italian

This dish at a small restaurant in Positano on the Amalfi Coast called O'Capurale and was very impressed with how flavorful yet light it was. Pesce in Acqua Pazza means Fish in Crazy Water. Many American interpretations of this dish seem to take this translation extremely literal. They really accentuate the "crazy", using it as an excuse to clean out the refrigerator and add all kinds of ingredients to flavor the water. I am not sure of the origins of the name, but I do know that all it needs is a simple flavoring of garlic, herbs, tomato, salt and a pinch of hot pepper as presented in the Ingredients here.

Serves 4

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4-1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 garlic cloves chopped
12 grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 pounds sea bass or red snapper fillets

1. In an ovenproof pan at least two inches deep and large enough to hold the fish in one layer, add the olive oil, water, parsley, garlic, tomatoes, red pepper and salt.

2. Turn the heat to medium and allow the crazy water to simmer for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. Place the fish in the pan skin side down, transfer pan to oven and cook until fish is done, approximately 20 minutes.

4. Transfer the fish to warm plates, pour a little of the crazy water over and around the fish, making sure to include some tomatoes, and serve immediately.