The Dish | Cod Braised in Garlic Tomato Broth, aka Acqua Pazza

Greetings from Maine! One of my favorite things to do here is cook for friends, while taking advantage of all the amazing seafood around. This recipe, based on an Italian dish called Acqua Pazza, which translates to “crazy water,” makes the best of tasty, local seasonal ingredients and is easy to put together.

You can substitute the cod for haddock or any firm white fish (like rock cod or snapper if you’re on the West Coast). Serve with a big green salad and some good crusty bread to soak up the broth.


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more to finish
  • 3 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flake
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 dry white wine
  • 1 14-oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbs capers
  • 4 6-oz cod fillets
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
  • salt/pepper to taste


  • In a large pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, red onion, fennel, red pepper flake, and salt. Cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes until vegetables are soft.
  • Add the wine, stir scraping up the bits from the bottom of pan, and simmer until wine is reduced by half – about 2 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes, water and capers and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and gently simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Season fish with salt and pepper and place into broth. Cover and cook for about 12-15 minutes until fish is opaque and firm. Remove the lid and spoon some of the sauce over the fish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with parsley and basil.

Leave a Reply

The Exedra comments section is an essential part of the site. The goal of our comments policy is to help ensure it is a vibrant yet civil space. To participate, we ask that Exedra commenters please provide a first and last name. Please note that comments expressing congratulations or condolences may be published without full names. (View our full Comments Policy.)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *