Want Some “Crazy Fish?”
If you like the look of this dish, then this is the post for you – because this “Wednesday Bookmobile” is headed to the South Of France thanks to a memoir that celebrates incredible food like this, with recipes!
“Fish In Crazy Water” is an iconic Mediterranean dish – made a number of different ways: but thanks to a terrific memoir, we are going to learn it from a Sailboat Chef!
Let me set the stage:
Imagine Life On a Yacht In The Mediterranean!
This picture sums up what I imagine life on a yacht is like – soft summer breezes and the deep blue sea – and nights moored at French Riviera towns with views like this:
Photographer Christophe Chou captured this sunset in Monaco – what a life…and guess what? All of these mega Yachts and Sailboats have gourmet kitchens like this one:
So, what do you do when you are in one of the most beautiful locations in the world, with the g=freshest fish and produce anywhere, and you have a kitchen? You write a memoir!
Mediterranean Summer: A Season on France’s Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella
Here is a terrific book about cooking on a yacht that is cruising the Italian Riviera, written by David Shalleck, a Chef who did just that! He took a job cooking for a wealthy Italian couple, and spent a season cooking aboard their private yacht as they cruised the French Cote d’Azur and Italy’s Costa Bella. Along with Writer Erol Munoz, he tells the “down below” story of cooking for the super-rich in one of the most beautiful places in the world!
This book is full of fun adventures, and interesting insights into cooking. Chef Shalleck got to shop some of the most amazing food markets along the French Riviera, like in Cannes:
The book is filled with funny food adventures, and a real insider’s peek at what it’s like to cook incredible food like this!
Fish in Crazy Water – Recipe by Chef David Shalleck, © 2007 David Shalleck
From the region of Campania and a classic of Neapolitan cooking, this recipe is all about a great piece of fish cooked in a wonderfully simple way. Since the list is short, using great ingredients is paramount. At the beginning of the cooking, everything in the pan is fairly dry, but by the time the fish is cooked, there will be a simmering bath of acqua pazza—crazy water! This is a perfect way to cook halibut and other flaky fish like snapper, grouper, or bass. Use vine-ripened tomatoes that are not too soft. And by rinsing off the capers, you will get seasoning from the capers, not the flavor of the brine. Serve with roasted or steamed potatoes.
Six 6-ounce pieces skinless halibut fillet
Fine sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus a little for drizzling
About 1 3/4 pounds ripe, firm tomatoes, seeded and cut into 3/8-inch dice (3 cups)
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers, rinsed and finely minced
Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper. Lightly crush the garlic cloves and put in a sauté pan that will be large enough to hold all the fish and some of the tomatoes in between in a single layer. Add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, gently shake and tilt the pan so the cloves are immersed and sizzling at one side of the pan in a pool of the oil. As the cloves start to turn golden, lay the pan flat on the burner so the oil covers the entire surface. Place the fish in the pan, skin side down. Tilt the pan so you can spoon some of the garlic oil over the exposed side of the fish. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes and parsley, evenly distributing them over the entire surface of the fish and in between the fillets. Cover and lower the heat so the pan juices come to a slow, even boil. Add the capers 2 to 3 minutes later so their flavor will not overpower the rest of the dish. Continue to simmer until the fish is opaque and slightly firm 3 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the fish with a slotted spatula to warm plates or a serving platter. Using a slotted spoon, place the tomatoes over the fish, then with a regular spoon, place some of the residual “crazy water” in the pan over the fish and enough on the dish or platter to serve it in a shallow pool. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve subito (immediately)!
I have been fortunate enough to go to the south of France, and I love the food there – one in particular:
Soupe de Poisson – this thick, rich fish soup is topped with slices of baguette that have been slathered with aioli and shaved parmesan…amazing!
That said, a simple “Canneswich” is also special:
Yes, I walked for miles along the French Riviera, fueled by these sandwiches sold at kiosks along the way…
See more of my Cannes food adventures by clicking my story here:
French food is incredible…in fact, ALL food is incredible, especially when you know the history of it:
This book has the history food, and it’s a fascinating read as well! See a preview by clicking on my story here:
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