Ever since moving in November, I’ve been lucky enough to escape the wrath of the New York City subway system for the most part. I walk to and from work unless it’s really raining or I’m really late, so I pretty much only hop on the subway a few times a week to see friends or run an errand.

I just started reading The Happiness Project and the author, Gretchen Rubin, says walking just a small amount (I think she says 10 minutes) each day can help you feel happier. I’ve definitely found that to be true, and really do think walking to work gives me some time to think and admire some of the beauty in NYC. It really seems to clear my head a little.

Though, the fact that I no longer have to stand like a sardine in the subway cars during rush hour with crazies like this woman cannot be ignored and surely has something to do with that weight being lifted.

Seriously. This lady exists. And she’s terrifying. (Please note: I am in no way trying to minimize the severity of mental health problems. Just imagine being screamed at wildly, sneezed on, and spat at when you’re just trying to get home.)

If you try to talk to one of my friends about her, he—honest to goodness—gets visibly upset.

Another recent subway experience taught me why one should not be excited to see an empty train car during rush hour.

There is a reason that car is empty, my friends.

The reason that day: There was a man laying down across a bench of seats drinking booze and smoking a cigarette (smoking a cigarette on the subway!!!). He had also most certainly wet his pants and more–we shall not go into details on this food blog. Doors closed before I could realize that it was not my good fortune to be traveling to Queens on a quiet day, but rather everyone else would prefer to squish into the other cars than be in the smelly (understatement of the century, people. I was actually gagging) car.

A few days later my friend had two consecutive days in which she had the joy of riding the subway to work with a naked man.

Point of the story: New York City can a big, scary place and sometimes I really do feel like a tiny fish in some seriously crazy water.

A-ha! The (weak) tie together.

Fish in Crazy Water

I saw this recipe for Fish in Crazy Water (Acqua Pazza in Italian) in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine while on the plane to Arizona and couldn’t get it out of my head.

It takes some time to cook acqua pazza properly but, since it’s incredibly hands-off (with the exception of some initial chopping), that really didn’t bother me.

Fish in Crazy Water

The end result is a flaky, moist cut of fish in a light, herby tomato sauce. I couldn’t believe how water, tomatoes, and just a few other ingredients could create such a tasty broth/sauce. I think acqua pazza is the perfect choice if you want a healthy dish that the whole family will enjoy (especially in the summertime!). I served mine with a side of sautéed kale and there wasn’t a morsel of either left!

Acqua Pazza (Fish in Crazy Water)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 4 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 fillet

Adapted from Food & Wine


  • 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes—coarsely chopped, juices reserved
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh jalapeno
  • Salt
  • 4 cups water
  • Four 6-ounce skinless fillets of white fish (I used tilapia)


  1. In a deep skillet that’s large enough for the fish fillets to lie flat without overlapping, combine the tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, parsley, jalapeno, a large pinch of salt, and water. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer 45 minutes.
  2. Uncover and boil until liquid has reduced by half, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the fish, taking care not to overlap the fillets, and cook for 2 minutes. Using a spatula, gently turn the fillets. Season with salt and simmer approximately 2 more minutes until just cooked through.
  4. Spoon broth around each fillet in a shallow bowl and serve.

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11 thoughts on “Acqua Pazza (Fish in Crazy Water)

    • So true!! I think I’ve even been guilty of saying that to someone. More out of curiosity for what they’re thinking though, I think…?!

  1. My jaw is literally on the floor from those stories. I’m just glad you’re safe girl! (Speaking of safe…. being a mom… just remember what you share publicly on a blog about your routines and where you’ll be when)

    Annnnyways I’ve never heard of Acqua Pazza but it sounds awesome!! Thanks for sharing the recipe. You always come up with the best ones to share!
    Carol @ Lucky Zucca recently posted..Thankful ThursdayMy Profile

  2. Wow that sounds like an amazing dish!

    And yikes, I don’t take subways often because I live in a small city and we don’t have a subway, and after your stories I am very grateful for that…
    Samantha recently posted..Springing Ahead…My Profile

  3. I love your blogging style, your tie ins are awesome.

    I can’t imagine having to deal with those things on a regular basis, I lived in a tiny city (Providence RI) in college, and it helped me realize that as much as I love some aspects of city life, I am a country girl.

    I have never heard of this dish either, but it looks amazing!
    Alissa N recently posted..Vegetarian Mexican Stir FryMy Profile

    • Hi Donna…so sorry for the very delayed response. There’s no need to seed the tomatoes. You’ll want all that yummy juice to add to the flavor of the dish. I hope I can be more help next time (took a little hiatus there).

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