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Poached Fish in Tomato Garlic Broth

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Adjust Servings:
Fish and Broth
4 6-8oz fillets white fish
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic depending on size
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 onion
1/2 tsp or to taste, salt
1/2 tsp or to taste, fresh ground black pepper
3/4 cup white wine or cooking sherry
2 lb Cherry Tomatoes
1/3 cup water
to top: capers (optional)
Marinated Kale
6 leaves kale
1/2 lemon
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Mashed Potatoes
1 lb yukon gold potatoes
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup milk or sour cream
to taste, salt
to taste, fresh ground black pepper

Poached Fish in Tomato Garlic Broth

Pesce All'Acqua Pazza

    • 50 min
    • Serves 4
    • Easy


    • Fish and Broth

    • Marinated Kale

    • Mashed Potatoes



    Good to eat, and fun to say! Pesce All’Acqua Pazza is an Italian dish in which white fish is gently cooked in a flavorful broth. The name translates to “fish in crazy water” and there are many variations, but this is my version. It is somehow simultaneously rich and tomato-y but light and acidic, and just delightful to eat. This can be made with any white fish; I recommend using either cod or halibut, but I will admit that I’m more likely to reach for the halibut. To make it a meal I paired this dish with some mashed potatoes and marinated kale. Enjoy!



    Prep the Kale

    Stem the kale and tear or cut into bite sized pieces. Add to a large bowl with the zest and juice of the lemon, the honey, mustard, and oil. Massage to coat, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


    Prep the potatoes

    Scrub and peel the potatoes (I leave the skins on mine because I like the texture and extra nutrients), then cut into small pieces (the smaller the faster they cook!). Add all the potatoes to a pot with cold salted water and bring to a boil for 20-30 minutes until fork tender. When they are done, drain and mash with butter, salt, pepper, and milk of choice. (My household likes to use a handheld electric mixer to mash potatoes, it works great!)


    Fish and Broth

    While the potatoes are boiling, slice the onion (I like to cut in quarters then slice horizontally), half the tomatoes, and mince the garlic. Pat the fish dry and season on all sides with salt and pepper.


    Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes until the garlic is lightly browning, then add the onions, salt, and pepper and reduce the heat to medium low, cooking until the onions are softened (3-5 minutes).


    Pour in the wine and increase the heat to medium high -- don't skip the wine or cooking sherry, there is really no replacement for the flavor this adds! Cook uncovered until the liquid is about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way evaporated (30 sec - 1 min). Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are beginning to break down (you will see the skins start to wrinkle as pictured below). Pour in the water and bring to a simmer.


    Nestle the fish in a single layer and reduce to medium low, then cover and cook until the fillets reach 120F or flake easily with a fork (5-8 min). When they are fully cooked, gently remove them from the pan and set aside. (Fun fact: This is technically a shallow poach not a full poach, because the fish are only partly submerged.)


    Increase the heat to medium-high and reduce the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency. I reduce mine quite a bit because I like it really thick over the fish. Taste and adjust seasoning, then plate and serve. You can also top this with some capers or stir them right into the broth for a delicious salty-briny kick.


    Hi, I'm Elaine! Welcome to my food blog; I am a Montanan, an Eagle Scout, and lover of all things food. I love to cook and bake, as well as share my creations with others.

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