Sea bass in chilli and fennel seed broth

Called sea bass acqua pazza (fish in crazy water) in Italian, Francesco Mazzeis broth is made of poached sea bass with a startling flavour palate
Sea bass in chilli and fennel seed broth
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 3-4
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 whole sea bass, about 1.8kg/4lb, gutted and scaled
  • 400 ml white wine
  • 16 g fennel seeds
  • 8 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 280 g carrots
  • 1.6 g spring onions
  • 280 g celery, leaves attached
  • 2 red chillies
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
  • 160 g cherry tomotoes
  • 4 garlic bruschetta, to serve


1. Clean the sea bass under cold, running water (if not already done by a fishmonger). Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper,

2. Remove the bones from the fish and place in a pan along with the white wine, fennel seeds, bay leaves, thyme and water to cover, and bring to the boil. Use a ladle to skim all the froth that has collected on the surface of the liquid. Lower the heat so that the stock is simmering gently and then cook for 2 hours.

3. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6.

4. Chop the carrots, spring onion, celery and chilli into batons. Heat a dash of olive oil in a large ovenproof pan and fry the vegetable batons and chopped garlic until softened.

5. Strain the stock and add it to the pan with the vegetables. Add the sea bass and cherry tomatoes and place in the oven to cook for about 15 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque at its thickest part.

6. Serve the fish broth in bowls topped with a portion of the sea bass, along with a garlic, olive oil and dried oregano bruschetta per person.

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