Pesce all'acqua pazza
Pesce all'acqua pazza means fish with "crazy water" in Italian! My favorite way to make this dish is with local fish from Crosby's Fish and Shrimp Company in Charleston, SC. American red snapper is my fish of preference, but any flaky white fish will do the trick, even a meatier fish such as grouper. Red snapper holds up well in the hot broth, and only requires a few short minutes of cooking. Rumor has it that the fisherman in Italy used to use sea water to poach their fish, if they didn't have access to salt! I poach the fish with a broth made of jammy cherry tomatoes, white wine, water, a bay leaf and more. Olinda olive oil will help the tomatoes soften as well as crisp up capers, shallots and garlic for the topping.
INGREDIENTS for topping: 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 3.5 oz capers (1 bottle),drained 2 small shallots, halved through the root end and thinly sliced 4 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus about 12 more whole leaves to garnish A generous pinch of red pepper flakes Zest of one lemon INGREDIENTS for tomato broth base, fish and pasta: 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling 2 pints cherry tomatoes Kosher salt, to taste Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons tomato paste 1⁄2 cup dry white wine, or two tablespoons white wine vinegar and two tablespoons water 1-2 cups water, depending on how brothy you would like 1 bay leaf 1 2-3 inch Parmigiano Reggiano rind 8 oz tubular pasta, such as calamarata or pacchieri, up to you! 1 lb mild flaky white fish with the bones out and skin removed, cut into one-inch cubes, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper To make the topping: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the drained capers and cook for 5 minutes or so until they are crispy and lightly fried. Using a slotted spoon, move the capers to a paper towel-lined small plate or bowl. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan if needed. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and turn slightly golden, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more. Be careful not to burn it- burnt garlic is scary. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of the chopped parsley, red pepper flakes and the zest of one lemon. Set aside. To make the tomato broth base, fish and pasta: Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and jammy, about8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes more, until the paste darkens slightly. Add the wine (if using) or vinegar-water mixture, scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pan, and cook until reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1-2 cups of water, bay leaf, and Parmigiano Reggiano rind. Let simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. While the broth simmers, bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it generously. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until just short of al dente. Drain and set aside. Add the fish pieces to the broth, and cook for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally, or until just cooked through (it should start to flake when pulled at with a fork). Transfer the pasta to the broth and stir gently to coat. Cook for another minute or
two. Remove the Parmigiano Reggiano rind and the bay leaf. Serve the acqua pazza in bowls and top with caper topping. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice at the end. Warm focaccia is delicious served alongside this dish!