Crazy water, or ‘acqua pazza’, is a way of poaching fish. It has its origins on the west coast of Italy and has become well-known in holiday destinations such as Capri and Ponza. This is poached fish with flavour. It is an incredibly easy and healthy way to cook, and perfect for people on diets.

  • 1 whole bream or bass
  • a small bunch of flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 1/2 garlic cloves, crushed on the back of your knife
  • olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 dried red chilli (optional)
  • 150ml white wine
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Serves 2

Preheat your oven to 200°C.

Clean, gut and descale the fish (or get your fishmonger to do it for you). Put a little salt, a parsley stalk and half of a crushed garlic clove in the cavity. Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of an ovenproof dish. Put the fish in, and scatter around the chopped tomatoes, the crushed garlic cloves (broken up into pieces), and some chopped parsley. Season it and crumble in a little chilli pepper if you like.

Now pour in the white wine, and add enough water to come up just below the middle line of the fish. Bake it for around 20 to 25 minutes. To check it is cooked, pull on a fin – if it comes away easily, it is ready.

Use a slotted spoon to move the fish on to a plate, and then peel off the skin and take the flesh from the bones. Put the flesh back into the sauce in the oven dish and serve it hot or cold.

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