This is an adaptation—by Dirt Floor Cellars chief (and Cakebread Cellars chef) Richard Haake—of a traditional Neapolitan specialty. The dish’s name literally means crazy water.
- 12 sun-dried tomato halves
- 1⁄2 cup flour
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 (6-oz.) center-cut striped bass filets, trimmed of belly flaps
- 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 cup unoaky chardonnay
- 1 cup fish or chicken stock
- 16 niçoise or kalamáta olives
- 5 caperberries, drained and sliced
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- Leaves from 3 sprigs parsley, chopped
- Soak tomatoes in a bowl of warm water until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside. Season flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish, then lightly dredge fish and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 3 tbsp. of the oil. Add fish to skillet, skin side down, reduce heat to medium, and cook until skin is browned and crisp, 2–3 minutes. Turn fish and cook until nearly opaque throughout, 3–8 minutes, depending on thickness of filets. Transfer fish to paper towels to drain, skin side up. Return skillet to medium-high heat.
- Add remaining oil to skillet and fry garlic until lightly golden, 10–15 seconds. Add pepper flakes and fry for a few seconds, then carefully add wine and simmer, stirring often, until reduced by half, 2–3 minutes. Add stock, olives, caperberries, and tomatoes and simmer until sauce thickens slightly, 2-3 minutes. Whisk in butter and simmer for another minute. Stir in parsley, season to taste with salt and pepper, then return fish to skillet, skin side up, and simmer until warmed through.