Acqua Pazza

This is another recipe that the hubs had perfected before we met and used it to successfully woo me in our early years.  When asked about the origin of this dish he shares a story he learned from an Italian chef at a restaurant he worked in post-college.

“Back in the day, in Naples, the fishermen would make their dinner by poaching some of the fish that they caught in the waters of the Mediterranean.  There was an old myth, however, that cooking fish in the water that it came from made you crazy.  So they called it crazy water fish!”

This dish is essentially fish, poached in a salty water bath which is infused with juicy tomatoes and garlic.  We typically serve it with green beans and some fingerlings or red potatoes.  Once you get all of the ingredients prepared this is a quick meal to make and is quite flavorful.

There aren’t too many formal recipes online, but I did find this one which is quite clear. However, we always just estimate ingredient amounts along the way and it almost never disappoints.



  • 1.5 pounds of cod (or another fish – see below)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of flour
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • Green Beans (about 3 large handfuls)
  • 1 pound of potatoes
  • White wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps and Notes:

  1. Prepare the ingredients ahead of time as parts of this move quickly
    • Quarter the potatoes
    • Stem the green beans
    • Cut the cherry tomatoes in half
    • Dice the fresh parsley
    • Dice the garlic
  2. Cut the cod into individual pieces – about 1/2 pound each
  3. Boil a pot of hot water and add the potatoes.  Cook for 10 minutes.
  4. With 5 minutes remaining in the boiling potato pot, add the green beans for a quick blanch
  5. Heat some oil in a cast iron skillet and brown the potatoes – face down – for about 7-8 minutes. (Until they reach your desired crispness)
  6. At this point, the rest of these steps move fast! Coat the cod in flour.
  7. Heat the skillet with a bit more oil. Ensure the pan is very hot, then brown the fish on each side until just golden brown.
    • This took under a minute on each side
  8. Add the garlic to the remaining parts of the pan with a bit of oil. Cook for 20 seconds until fragrant (be sure not to burn)
  9. Add 1/2 cup of hot water and 1/4 cup of white wine. Ideally, you want the level to come half-way up the fish.
  10. Squeeze the tomatoes into the broth.
  11. Add “a good amount of salt… probably a teaspoon or two”
  12. Mix well, bur without breaking up the fish, then add the green beans and cook for an additional few minutes.

Finish with parsley and serve a layered plate with the potatoes, green beans, fish, and salty broth!

Thoughts for Next Time:

  • Try it with various types of white fish: haddock or halibut
  • Experiment with other forms of fish such as red snapper or chilean sea bass
  • Add some crushed red pepper
  • Serve over pasta instead of the potatoes
  • Serve with crusty bread!





    1. It was very tasty and quite simple to make! I’d highly recommend trying something like it. Have a great day!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My brain saw that as “Acqua Pizza” and couldn’t figure out why there were green beans on a pizza, lol! This fish dish sounds great, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe. Green beans on pizza would be… interesting! This dish was indeed super simple and very delicious and you can adapt with so many types of fish! Happy to share. Thanks for the note! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] but came home to realize that we had finished all of the potatoes earlier this week when we made Acqua Pazza. I am committed to making it before this season ends, so that will be coming soon […]


  3. When I first saw this, I was thinking, “what’s an aqua PIZZA”? I was really confused to see a fishy dish until I reread the title. 🙂 Love it so much nonetheless!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Fish remains somewhat of a mystery to me. While I love the fact that fresh fish is plentiful here in Boston I’m terrified to cook it myself!  This is confirmed by the fact that in over a year and a half of cooking and posting over 140 recipes I’ve only made fish FOUR times. A grilled salmon, an experimental crab cake, lemon parsley fish cakes, and an acqua passa. […]


  5. […] A few weeks ago my blog turned 4! Four whole years of teaching myself to cook and building my confidence in the kitchen. Over the course of almost 200 recipes I’ve built a battery of weeknight dishes, learned how to prepare healthy lunches for the week, experimented with the instant pot, and become more and more comfortable cooking fish. […]


  6. […] fish dish – AquaPazza: I first blogged this dish in 2016 and the picture might not be as shiny as others but this dish is […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: