Acqua Pazza or Crazy Water is an ancient fish soup created by Neapolitan fishermen who would cook their catch of the day with a little sea water, extra virgin olive oil, a few cherry tomatoes & chilli flakes & serve it with slices of dried bread on the side or incorporated into the soup.
Nowadays, it’s quite fashionable to see Acqua Pazza in expensive Italian restaurants all over the world.
Acqua Pazza-‘Crazy Water’
Serves 4 to 6
1lb/450g Whitebait or similar tiny fish
4floz/125ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Coarse sea salt
1 Large lemon cut in half
10 Sprigs of flat leaf parsley
2 Large garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tablespoon of Oregano
Salt & freshly Ground Pepper
6 Cherry tomatoes & chilli flakes to add a little kick
2floz/60ml Cold water
4 to 6 slices of Sourdough bread
Pre-heat the oven 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6 & use a little oil to coat a baking dish. Soak the fish for 30 minutes in a bowl of cold water with a little coarse salt & the squeezed lemon halves.
Place the cherry tomatoes on the baking tray & bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven & set aside to cool down for a further 10 minutes. After this time has passed cut them in half.
Drain & rinse the fish under cold running water. Place a casserole containing the cold water, & olive oil over a medium heat. When the liquid is starting to simmer, add the chopped parsley, tomatoes, garlic & fish.
Season with oregano, salt & pepper & cook for a further 5 minutes. You will notice that the fish will have started to dissolve. Season with chilli flakes, & mix well. Ladle the soup over slices of bread in the individual soup bowls & serve immediately.