Chefs' Recipes

Peppers aqua pazza

You might know the Italian dish of fish cooked in "crazy water". This is it's capsicum-based cousin.

By Daniel Pepperell
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking plus marinating
  • Serves 4 - 6
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"Aqua pazza, known as 'crazy water', is a style of dish that is usually made with fish or seafood," says chef Daniel Pepperell of Alberto's Lounge. "Here the peppers replace the fish as the focal point, with the backup dancers being the anchovies, and the acidic tomato water replacing white wine." At Alberto's they ferment the tomatoes first for about a week and use the fermented tomato water. They also top the dish with a few drops of prawn oil. Start this recipe a day ahead to marinate the capsicum.


  • 3 red capsicum
  • ½ garlic clove, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
  • 50 ml Banyuls vinegar (see note)
  • 50 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 white anchovies (see note), halved lengthways
  • Grissini (optional), to serve
Tomato vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp tomato water, squeezed by hand from 2-3 tomatoes and strained
  • 2 tsp Banyuls vinegar (see note)
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 garlic clove, finely grated


  • 1
    Preheat a barbecue to high. Grill capsicum, turning, until black all over (12-14 minutes; alternatively, place capsicum directly on a gas flame on high, turning occasionally, until blackened). Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave to cool (40-50 minutes). Peel over a bowl, discarding seeds and reserving juice. Strain the juice and run the capsicum through it to help remove all seeds and skin, then tear into wide strips. Lay in a container, add garlic, vinegar and oil and season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate to marinate (2 hours, or overnight).
  • 2
    For vinaigrette, whisk ingredients in a bowl to combine and season to taste with salt.
  • 3
    Lay anchovies on a serving plate, cover with capsicum and dress with vinaigrette. Season to taste with salt and serve with grissini.


Pepperell uses Ortiz white anchovies, available from Simon Johnson and select delicatessens. Substitute another white or good-quality anchovy. Banyuls vinegar is available from The Essential Ingredient and selected delicatessens. Substitute aged sherry or red wine vinegar mixed with a pinch of sugar. Wine suggestion 2016 Radikon Pinot Grigio. Fragrant, pink and electric. An iconic winemaker. Wine suggestion by Andy Tyson.