Crazy water or Acqua pazza is an Italian term for the poaching of fish and seafood in a light broth….I always thought it referred to the spice of the chilli but there you go! Apparently the fisherman of the Neapolitan area used to poach their catch using a splash of water from the sea, some tomato and of course the ubiquitous olive oil. Here I’ve used clams but you could easily add some mussels to the dish (they have the same cooking time) or you could poach some lovely fillets of white fish in the same way…it’ll just take a little longer.
It’s a fast and easy dish that is packed with flavour. Even if you’re on a bit of a go slow it’ll still only take you 20 minutes max. It makes a lovely light lunch served with crusty bread or as an entrée if you’ve guests for dinner…..you can also prep the garlic & fennel paste and the tomatoes prior to the arrival of said guests, that way it will only take 5 minutes to put together and pop onto the table.
Clams are packed with zinc (which is fabulous for secret mens business *read fertility & erectile function) and is great for immune and thyroid function, wound healing and blood clotting. Regardless of all the good stuff that is packed in clams….just eat them because they taste good!
- Prep Time : 10 minutes
- Cook Time : 10 minutes
- Yield : 2
If you have unprepared clams, place them in a bowl of cold water and soak for 1-2 hours so that the sand is released from the shell. I usually get a pack that has already been prepared so you can just pop it in the pot (when the recipe states) straight from the package.
Use a pestle and mortar to grind the garlic, fennel seeds and parsley to a kind of chunky paste....alternatively you can pop it all into a mini food processor and blitz it for 20-30 seconds.
Place a large pot over a medium heat. Splash in the extra virgin olive oil and sauté the garlic/fennel paste for a minute or two until sizzling and fragrant then add the chopped tomato and the chilli flakes and stir to combine. Deglaze the pan with the dry white wine then add then add the clams and their juices. Bring to the boil, place a lid onto the pot and cook for 3-4 minutes until the clams have opened. Discard any unopened shells. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
To serve, divide the clams between two plates and then spoon over the liquid with the tomato and garlic & fennel paste.