Want Some “Crazy Fish?”
If you like the look of this dish, then this is the post for you – because I’ve got two books that celebrate incredible food like this, with recipes!
Let me set the stage:
Imagine Life On a Yacht!
This picture sums up what I imagine life on a yacht is like – bikinis and the deep blue sea – and nights moored at French Riviera towns with views like this:
This is the city of Cannes France at night, with a bevy of mega-yachts moored along the Riviera… All of these mega Yachts and Sailboats have gourmet kitchens like this one:
Here is a terrific book about cooking on a yacht that is cruising the Italian Riviera, written by David Shalleck, a Chef who did just that! He took a job cooking for a wealthy Italian couple, and spent a season cooking aboard their private yacht as they cruised the French Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella. Along with Writer Erol Munoz, he tells the “down below” story of cooking for the super-rich in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
This book is full of fun adventures, and interesting insights into cooking. Chef Shalleck got to shop some of the most amazing food markets along the French Riviera, like in Cannes:
The book is filled with funny food adventures, and a real insider’s peek at what it’s like to cook incredible food like this!
Fish in Crazy Water – Recipe by Chef David Shalleck, © 2007 David Shalleck
From the region of Campania and a classic of Neapolitan cooking, this recipe is all about a great piece of fish cooked in a wonderfully simple way. Since the list is short, using great ingredients is paramount. At the beginning of the cooking, everything in the pan is fairly dry, but by the time the fish is cooked, there will be a simmering bath of acqua pazza—crazy water! This is a perfect way to cook halibut and other flaky fish like snapper, grouper, or bass. Use vine-ripened tomatoes that are not too soft. And by rinsing off the capers, you will get seasoning from the capers, not the flavor of the brine. Serve with roasted or steamed potatoes.
Six 6-ounce pieces skinless halibut fillet
Fine sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for drizzling
About 1 3/4 pounds ripe, firm tomatoes, seeded and cut into 3/8-inch dice (3 cups)
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed and finely minced
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly crush the garlic cloves and put in a sauté pan that will be large enough to hold all the fish and some of the tomatoes in between in a single layer. Add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, gently shake and tilt the pan so the cloves are immersed and sizzling at one side of the pan in a pool of the oil. As the cloves start to turn golden, lay the pan flat on the burner so the oil covers the entire surface. Place the fish in the pan, skin side down. Tilt the pan so you can spoon some of the garlic oil over the exposed side of the fish. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and parsley, evenly distributing them over the entire surface of the fish and in between the fillets. Cover and lower the heat so the pan juices come to a slow, even boil. Add the capers 2 to 3 minutes later so their flavor will not overpower the rest of the dish. Continue to simmer until the fish is opaque and slightly firm 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the fish with a slotted spatula to warm plates or a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes over the fish, then with a regular spoon, place some of the residual “crazy water” in the pan over the fish and enough on the dish or platter to serve it in a shallow pool. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve subito (immediately)!
I made the dish as part of my cooking challenge last year and here’s how it looked:
I have been fortunate enough to go to the south of France, and I love the food there – one in particular:
Soupe de Poisson – this thick, rich fish soup is topped with slices of baguette that have been slathered with aioli and shaved parmesan…amazing!
See more of my Cannes food adventure here:
My wife Alex and I also cooked int he South of France:
We had the chance to cook at a terrific cooking school in the south of France, and I have posted about that great adventure before…you can see what we cooked here:
As part of my “52 In 22 Cooking Challenge”, I cooked from one of Patricia’s terrific cookbooks:
This is a “pan bagnat”, a classic provencal sandwich…click here for the history of this incredible meal and the recipe as well:
Categories: 52 In 22!, Bite Eat Swallow, Bite! Eat! Repeat!, Chef memoirs, Cookbooks, Eat This!, Fine Dining, Food, Food Pictures, Food Porn, Food Travel, Food Writing, Recipes, Travel, Wacky Food, World's Wildest Food
This sounds delicious
I haven’t had fish or cooked fish in crazy water this sounds absolutely delicious and a dish I would very much love to eat…
It’s really simple as you can see Carol but surprisingly delicious as well and a great name for a dish, right?
Absolutely John you find food with the most amazing names 🙂
The food looks great, but I would be eating it on dry land. Life on the water holds no appeal for me, as I easily get seasick! 🙂
Best wishes, Pete.
Pete, it’s a delicious dish to enjoy on dry land indeed – hope you are off to a great start to your weekend – cheers!
Hi John, I remember this recipe. It really looks like a good one. Thanks for the reminder.