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Sea bass in crazy water

An easy and fool proof way to cook a lovely piece of fish. Crazy water is a translation of ‘acqua pazza’ – the Italian name for this way of poaching fish. It is traditionally done with whole fish but I know many of you are squeamish about whole fish and would prefer to use fillets. If you do this, just remember to reduce the cooking time for the fish. You can also use bream.

Recipe for 4

  • 4 whole small seabass, gutted
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove very finely sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 500g ripe cherry tomatoes, halved
  • a glass of white wine
  • handful of capers
  • small handful of flat parsley, chopped
  • small handful of basil leaves, torm


  • If needed, rinse the fish clean and pat dry in a tea towel
  • In a frying pan that you can put a lid on to, heat a good glug of oil and then lay the fish side by side. Sprinkle over the garlic, chilli and two pinches of salt.
  • After 4 minutes, turn the fish over, add the tomatoes and cook for another 4 minutes
  • Now add the wine and capers and cook for a further 4 minutes, until the fish is cooked through.
  • Remove the fish from the pan to plate up. Add the parsley and basil to the pan and turn up the heat for a minute or two to reduce the sauce. Pour over the fish and enjoy.

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