4 frying-pan or plate-sized snappers, bream, mullet, garfish or whiting, scaled and gutted
12 cloves garlic confit
4 tablespoons chilli confit
20 cherry tomatoes
20 Ligurian olives (or marinated small olives), pitted
1.5 litres (52 fl oz/6 cups) sparkling mineral water
3 tablespoons butter
24 basil leaves
Make three cuts down to the bone on both sides of each fish and then cook each fish separately, using a quarter of the ingredients for each one. (You might want to keep the cooked fish in a warm oven as you go.)
Heat a touch of olive oil in a frying pan, add the fish and cook for 3–4 minutes until golden on one side.
Turn the fish over and add the confit of garlic and chilli, the tomatoes and olives and season with sea salt and cracked pepper. After 30 seconds add the mineral water (just enough to cover the fish), butter and basil and cook for another couple of minutes until the fish is just cooked through.
Lift out onto a serving plate and pour the sauce over the top.
This dish really defines my preferred cooking style — super-easy but full of flavour. Originally, the Italians cooked the fish in seawater, which is where the name crazy water or ‘aqua pazza’ comes from. Today we use sparkling mineral water and salt.
Credits: Pete Evans with Murdoch Books
Photo Credits: Anson Smart