Food & Wine (March 2013)
Sometimes, you absolutely can judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, a recipe by its name.
"Fish in Crazy Water"? How could we resist making something with such an intriguing name? And it turns out, it tastes just as awesome as its name.
This Fish in Crazy Water has actually made a couple appearances in Food & Wine now. Why? Because it's Food & Wine's birthday -- Happy birthday!
The magazine is celebrating its 35th anniversary this month by doing a bit of looking back into the archive. There's the "20 Best-Ever Recipes" and a second feature, "The Legends," that features recipes from culinary icons that were orginally featured in the magazine.
There's Julia Child, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Jacques Pepin, Paula Wolfbert and Marcella Hazan.
It's Marcella who contributed a recipe this Fish in Crazy Water back in 1997.
The fish in this case is snapper. The crazy water? That's actually a flavorful tomato sauce. The ingredients of the sauce are basic and include the usual suspects -- tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, parsley, and red chili -- along with four cups of water. That sauce simmers for 45 minutes, then you add the snapper, cook it briefly on each side, and ladle it into bowls. If you have it on hand, the recipe suggests serving it with grilled bread -- and trust us, you're going to want something to sop up all that wonderful broth.
That is all an incredibly simple process, but it results in an incredibly flavorful dish. The sauce develops an amazing flavor as it simmers away, and it's the perfect sidekick for the red snapper. Poaching the fish in the sauce infuses it with all those wonderful tastes, and it gives you a fish that's tender and moist and perfectly cooked.
CONTRIBUTED BY MARCELLA HAZANActive: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes—coarsely chopped, juices reserved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced parsely
1/8 teaspoon chopped fresh red chile, or more to taste
4 cups water
Four 6-ounce red snapper fillets, skin on
4 slices of grilled sourdough bread
In a deep skillet that’s large enough for the fish fillets to lie flat without overlapping, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley, chile, a large pinch of salt and the water. Cover the skillet and bring the water to a steady simmer over moderate heat; simmer for 45 minutes.
Uncover the skillet and boil the liquid until it has reduced by half. Add the fish, skin side up, and cook for 2 minutes. Using two spatulas, gently turn the fillets. Season the fish with salt and simmer until just cooked through.
Put the grilled bread in shallow bowls and arrange the snapper fillets on top. Spoon the broth all around and serve.