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Acqua Pazza

Acqua Pazza

This classic Italian dish pairs excellently with a mineral edged Pinot Grigio. Don't skip the crusty bread for sopping up all the deliciousness.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 pounds assorted heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 cups white wine
  • 2 anchovies, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon each chopped, fresh oregano, basil and parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 4 six-ounce wild puppy drum filets or red snapper
  • 1/2 cup Wondra flour
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread for serving


  • In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of the oil. When hot, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until it just begins to turn golden brown. Add the tomatoes, white wine, anchovies, capers, crushed red pepper, herbs and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

    In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Season the fish evenly with the remaining salt and dredge in the Wondra to evenly coat each fillet. Transfer the fillets to the pan and sear the fish for 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer fish to the pan with the "crazy water", cover, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes longer, or just until the fish is cooked through.

    Serve the fish in the broth with the toasted ciabatta.


    Cook's Note:  Acqua Pazza translates to  "crazy water" in Italian. In this traditional Italian dish in which fish is braised in a garlicky tomato broth with a bit of a kick from crushed red pepper. It is delicious when served with a chunk of crusty ciabatta bread to soak up all the juices.