Acqua Pazza

Acqua Pazza is a Neapolitan fish dish using whole sea bream or orata but any firm white fish can be used.

The dish is referred to as “acqua pazza” crazy water because fishermen originally cooked the fish in seawater mixed with wine.

In Naples, whole scaled, gutted clean fish with head on must be used, but in this easy version cod fillets are used.



  • 2 tbs tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 ½ cups thinly sliced fennel
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbs capers in brine, well drained or capers in salt, well rinsed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half or one 15 ounce can, diced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup castelvetrano olives, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 6-ounce pieces cod filets
  • Bread slices to accompany dish


  1. Heat olive oil in a medium size sauté pan and cook the garlic with the fennel until the fennel begins to soften and the garlic turns golden brown.
  2. Stir in red flakes. Add tomatoes and cook until they begin to give off their juice.
  3. Add wine, water, capers and olives. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the fish on top of the sauce, cover and cook until fish is opaque, about 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve in bowls with parsley and accompany with bread slices.

This recipe was featured on Season 30 - Episode 3010.

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