Mormore All’Acqua Pazza – Poached Sea Fish

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Here it is another very simple and easy recipe, but that delivers always a great result 🙂 as always is important to choose a good fish and other ingredients, but it’s really simple to execute and I can tell you that you can really taste the sea!

The name “acqua pazza” literally means “crazy water“, and the origin of this recipe are to search between the fishermen, it’s a recipe they used to do by using sea water and few ingredients. And they were not wrong 🙂

In this case I used a sand steenbras (striped sea bream), which is a delicious fish, but it’s perfect also with seabass, gilt-head seabream, dentex, John Dory, red seabream, etc. all the white sea fish with delicate flesh.

The basic recipe is just with garlic and small tomatoes, and it’s already perfect, but I also added few capers and black olives which are definitely never a bad idea.

It’s one of those recipes where the ingredients are not really exactly measured, it’s up to you 🙂

Let’s see!


INGREDIENTS (2 people):

  • 2 sand steenbras (or other similar fish), of 300-400 g each
  • cherry red tomatoes, about 20
  • few capers (optional)
  • few black olives (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • chili (optional)
  • a bunch of fresh parsley (but if you prefer also oregano fits well)
  • a glass of dry white wine
  • a glass of water (or, if you have it, of good homemade fish stock)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper 
  • salt


  1. First of all clean the fish, and remove the scales.
  2. Take a pan large enough to contain the fish, and heat a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. Then add the garlic, and remove it when it gets some color.
  3. Then add the cherry tomatoes cut in half, cook few minutes at medium heat. Add also the capers and the black olives if you would like to use them, and the chili too.
  4. Then, season the fish with some salt and black pepper, and place it in the pan, making some space between the tomatoes.mormora_acqua_pazza (2)
  5. Immediately add also the white wine, and the hot water. The liquid must cover about half fish, no more. Keep the heat high until the alcohol is gone, then set on medium/low and cover the pan. Don’t turn the fish, maximum 1-2 times pour its liquid on the top, with a spoon. When it’s almost ready add also the freshly chopped parsley.mormora_acqua_pazza (3)
  6. A fish of this size will cook in about 15-18 minutes, indicatively when the eyes are white it should be ready.
  7. When it’s ready lift the fish carefully and place it in a dish, pour some of its liquid and the vegetables. I like to pair it with boiled potatoes too, they nicely absorb the liquid.
  8. Enjoy! 🙂


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PS: if it remains enough liquid, don’t throw it away! In the evening or on the following day you can cook some easy but very nice spaghetti with it, for example 🙂 a genial use of leftovers, and you have a cheap dish with an amazing fish flavor 🙂



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