Creative chefs in Italian coastal regions sometimes replace grapes for the tomatoes in a dish called pesce in acqua pazza or “fish in crazy water.” It’s called crazy water because crushed red chilies give the cooking water a kick.
Typically, freshly caught sea bream is used, although I have substituted halibut for its easy access and high omega-3 content in this recipe. It’s said that this dish can transport someone from a rainy day in London to the sunny Italian Riviera.
¼ cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless halibut fillets, 4 ounces
(115 g) each
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 small red chile pepper, finely
2 cups (300 g) seedless green grapes
A handful of fresh basil leaves,
½ teaspoon unrefined sea salt or salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Yield: 4 servings
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the halibut, followed by the garlic, chile pepper, grapes, basil, and the
salt and pepper. Pour in 1¾ cups (410 ml) of water, turn the heat down to
medium-low, cover, and cook the fish until opaque, or for 7 minutes on
Remove the fish from the pan and place on a large serving dish. Raise
the heat, cook the sauce for 30 seconds to concentrate the flavors slightly.
Taste and adjust salt and pepper. Pour sauce over the fish.
Phytonutrients in grapes are believed to contribute to longevity. Try
incorporating them into recipes for a surprising fresh, sweet and