Fast Recipes

Baby snapper in acqua pazza

Acqua Pazza, "crazy water," is a lightly herbed Italian broth, usually used to poach fish. With this recipe, fresh and fine ingredients are key.
Whole baby snapper in a pan with tomato, fennel, and basil sauce. Large slices of charred sourdough on either side of the pot.

Photo: Alicia Taylor

Alicia Taylor

Traditionally, acqua pazza is fish poached in a water-based broth flavoured with fresh cherry tomatoes, basil, chillies and fennel. Here, we have briefly seared the whole baby snapper before adding it to a tomato-fennel-basil broth to steam through and fully absorb the flavour.

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1.Blend chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic, basil, sugar and 1 tsp sea salt flakes in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large fine sieve over a large bowl; push liquid through sieve using a ladle.
2.Heat oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat; cook fish for 4 minutes on each side or until golden. Transfer to a plate.
3.Cook sliced garlic and chilli in same pan until softened and starting to colour (4 minutes). Add wine; cook for 1 minute or until evaporated. Add fennel, mixed tomatoes, herbs and 1 litre (4 cups) of the tomato liquid; season to taste. Bring to the boil and return fish to pan. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove lid and cook for a further 5 minutes or until fish is just cooked through. Season to taste and serve with chargrilled sourdough.

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