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Chefs at Home: Black Sea Bass in Crazy Water

  • Chef Andrew Hebert
  • 1 min read

By Chef Andrew Hebert of The Salty Pig in Boston 

Crazy water, or acqua pazza in Italian, is a flavorful broth used for poaching fish. The fish is then typically served in the broth. Most flaky white fish filet or smaller whole fish take well to this preparation. Make sure the pot or pan you use is wide enough to fit the fish and tall enough to hold the broth. The dish can be served family style or plated into wide bowls. 

Serves 2 


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

1/2 white onion, sliced 

1/4 bulb fennel, sliced 

4 cloves garlic, sliced 

1 large ripe tomato, diced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup) 

10 ripe cherry tomatoes 

1 teaspoon whole fennel seed 

1 teaspoon whole coriander seed 

Kernels from one ear of sweet corn 

1/2 serrano chili, sliced and seeds removed 

1/2 cup dry white wine 

1 1/2 cups vegetable stock 

1 pound black sea bass 

About 1 tablespoon kosher salt 



Heat the oil in a wide pot (I used a 6-quart Dutch oven) over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and fennel and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chopped tomato, cherry tomatoes, corn, chili and spices. Cook for 3 minutes. 

Add the wine, vegetable stock and salt. Bring to a boil then turn the heat down and simmer for 10 minutes. Once broth is ready, lightly season both sides of each fillet with a little salt and set them in the simmering liquid. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Serve immediately. 


Recipe and photos by Chef Andrew Herbert of The Salty Pig.

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