Pesce all’Aqua Pazza

"Fish in 'crazy water' with fennel, Calabrese chilies, grape tomatoes, spring onions, celery, parsley and marjoram is one of my favorite dishes because it’s so simple and easy to make," says chef Luke Palladino of Luke Palladino restaurant in Northfield. "A few ingredients thrown together in a simple way make for a finished dish that's crazy good."

Red snapper served acqua pazza, or “crazy water” style.
Photo by Stuart Goldenberg.

Serves: 4

1 each 4 pound Red snapper or bass, scaled by your fishmonger

4 parsley sprigs, whole

1 sprig marjoram

1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

1-teaspoon Calabrese chilies chopped or red pepper flakes

1-bulb spring onions

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

½ cup white wine

½ pint grape tomatoes

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 slices ciabatta or crusty Italian bread, rubbed with garlic and oil, toasted

tin foil to protect tail from burning while cooking


Pre-heat oven at 375°.

Rinse and dry the fish with paper towels. Season and rub them with salt, pepper and extra virgin olive oil and inside the cavity.

Lay the fish in a roasting pan large enough to accommodate the entire fish.

To the pan add the parsley and marjoram sprigs, sliced fennel, garlic, chilies, spring onions and uncut tops and remaining extra virgin olive oil.

Place roasting pan in oven. Roast for 10 minutes then add the white wine and grape tomatoes to the pan.

Place back in oven for another 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest.

Place whole fish onto a warm serving platter and spoon the sauce over the fish. To remove the filets from the fish, run a fish or butter knife down the spine from the head to the tail which lifts the meat off the bones.

Flip filet over. Remove the pin bones (rib bones) with the tip of the knife. Lift the spine off the bottom filet (it will come away in one whole piece) and remove the pin bones from the bottom filet.

Transfer to a plate and spoon some of the sauce over the filet and the toasted bread.

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