Sea bream in crazy water (Orata all’acqua pazza)

Sea bream in crazy water (Orata all’acqua pazza)

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(17 ratings)

Prep: 10 mins Cook: 30 mins


Serves 4
Use super-ripe tomatoes in this Italian fish recipe to add extra sweetness to the spicy broth

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy
  • Gluten-free

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal346
  • fat18g
  • saturates2g
  • carbs4g
  • sugars4g
  • fibre1g
  • protein40g
  • salt0.8g
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  • 4 tbsp good quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole sea bream or sea bass (about 450g each), gutted and cleaned
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • ½ small red chilli, chopped
  • 400g small tomato (a mix of different-coloured cherry tomatoes would be best)



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 4 tbsp white wine
  • small handful capers
    Capers in bowl



    Capers are the small flower buds of the Capparis shrub that grows in the Mediterranean. As they…

  • chopped parsley



    One of the most ubiquitous herbs in British cookery, parsley is also popular in European and…


  1. Heat half the oil in a large, lidded frying pan. Carefully slip the fish into the sizzling oil and cook for 4-5 mins until starting to brown. Flip over and scatter the garlic around the fish. Sizzle for 1 min more, then add the chilli and scatter over the tomatoes. Pour over the wine and let it bubble for 1 min, then pour over 100ml water and season generously with sea salt and pepper.

  2. Put on the lid, turn up the heat and simmer for 15 mins until the fish is cooked through – you can tell when the eyes turn bright white and the flesh feels softer.

  3. Lift each fish out the pan onto a serving plate and put the pan back on the heat. Add the capers and parsley, and boil hard for 1 min. You can now serve the fish and the sauce separately or slip them back into the pan, spoon some of the sauce over and bring the pan to the table. Drizzle with a little more oil just before serving.

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Comments, questions and tips

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29th Oct, 2019
Delicious. I used fillets and lowered the other ingredient amounts slightly, also didn't have any capers so left those out. I followed the other comments below and added some lemon juice at the end which really worked. Great and easy midweek meal!
22nd Nov, 2017
Great, didnt have enough tomatoes so added green beans. Didnt have white wine, so used same qty white wine vinegar, which was a bit too much.
Susy Putnam
1st May, 2017
the sauce was super delish! I made this for my birthday dinner. I didn't buy enough sea bream (I got a packet in Aldi - my bad) but still it worked. Well done! xxxx (a bit birthday tiddly in Devon) xx
4th Apr, 2014
This recipe was delicious. I've marked it down a star because the only thing I would change is to add some lemon juice at the end. It was just missing a bit of a tang in the taste, but otherwise a lovely recipe.
25th Mar, 2014
amazing! I didn't use the capers but it was so tasty! would highly recomend
30th Mar, 2019
Could I make this with sea bass fillets?
goodfoodteam's picture
7th Apr, 2019
Thanks for your question. This recipe is designed for whole bream or whole sea bass as the cooking time will be too long for fillets. You could adapt the recipe for fillets, removing the fish as soon as it is cooked in step 1, then continuing as above to ensure the sauce is cooked. The sauce won't be exactly the same as it won't have had the whole fish cooked in it for 15 mins.
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