Sorrento is a beautiful town perched on a cliff high above the sea with views of Vesuvius and the islands in the Bay of Naples . Use this website to help you plan a visit to this elegant southern Italian resort and find your way to the best beaches and some lovely villages and towns along the Sorrentine peninsula that are perhaps less well known to tourists.


Spigola all’acqua pazza

Try this recipe for cooking fish in a very Italian way

Spigola all'acqua pazza
Gently poach your spigola all'acqua pazza
until it flakes easily when tested with a fork
Once your holiday in Sorrento is over and you’re back at home, it is nice to try to recreate some of the meals you have enjoyed during your stay.

A southern Italian way of cooking fish that is delightfully simple to do in your own kitchen is spigola all’acqua pazza, which literally means, sea bass cooked in crazy water. Naples may lay claim to having invented this way of cooking fish, but spigola all’acqua pazza can be found on the menus of many restaurants in Sorrento and the surrounding area. And fish cooked all’acqua pazza is said to have become very popular with visitors to the island of Capri during the 1960s.

It is an easy dish to prepare at home and although you can’t beat sitting outside a restaurant overlooking beaches such as Marina di Puolo and Marina del Cantone while you eat it, just the smell and taste of the lovely poaching liquid flavoured with tomato and garlic will immediately transport you back to Italy from wherever you live .

Use fresh fillets of sea bass and place them skin side down in a frying pan. Cover them with a little cold water, a dash of olive oil, some chopped parsley and chopped garlic, then add a teaspoon of tomato puree or a few cherry tomatoes cut in half, or both together to provide the tomato flavour.

View from restaurant at Marina del Cantone
Best served at a restaurant table overlooking the
sea, such as this one at Marina del Cantone
The broth in which your seabass will be gently poached is thought to date back to when the fishermen, out of necessity, had to use seawater instead of fresh water to cook their fish, and with the additional flavourings it became known as acqua pazza - crazy water.

Thankfully you don’t have to go that far to recreate the authentic taste, the oil, garlic and tomato will do the job for you. The fish is ready when it flakes easily if you test it with a fork.

The sauce also goes well with branzino - sea bream - or you could even experiment with other types of white fish, such as halibut, cod or haddock.

Serve your fish with some fried potatoes, or crusty bread, and a side salad. Pour yourself a glass of Italian white wine and put on a CD of Neapolitan songs or mandolin music to complete the experience.

Buon appetito!


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